Delivering on the Promise: Advancing U.S. Relations with India

January 17, 2009


Executive Summary Excerpt:

Alyssa Ayres
Alyssa Ayres

Adjunct Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia

As the Obama Administration transitions to power already burdened with global economic crises and two wars, two events underscore India's importance for US interests: the brutal Mumbai attacks and the financial sector meltdown. The Mumbai attacks reminded Americans of India's vulnerability to global terrorism, our shared struggle against violent Islamic extremism, and the potential for crisis to rapidly escalate in the region. The financial sector meltdown and the emerging global response showed how India can be a key part of the solution through leadership in global bodies such as the G20.

More on:

United States


Politics and Government

India matters to virtually every major foreign policy issue that will confront the United States in the years ahead. A broad-based, close relationship with India will thus be necessary to solve complex global challenges, achieve security in the critical South Asian region, reestablish stability in the global economy, and overcome the threat of violent Islamic radicalism which has taken root across the region and in India. The members of this task force believe that the US relationship with India will be among our most important in the future, and will at long last reach its potential for global impact—provided that strong leadership on both sides steers the way.

The new relationship rests on a convergence of US and Indian national interests, and never in our history have they been so closely aligned. With India, we can harness our principles and power together to focus on the urgent interconnected challenges of our shared future: economic stability, expanded trade, the environment and climate change, innovation, nonproliferation, public health, sustainability, and terrorism. Together our two countries will be able to take on some of the most vexing problems facing the world today, and improve the lives and security of our citizens in doing so. But to get there, we must set broad yet realistic goals to be shared by both countries.

This report offers goals toward that ambitious agenda for our shared future. Our task force recommends dramatically enhancing cooperation with India not only between our governments, but also between our governments and both our private sectors. We must tap the private sector momentum in the relationship to address the kinds of big problems governments cannot solve alone.

More on:

United States


Politics and Government

Task Force Members

Alyssa Ayres, Director, McLarty Associates (Task Force Director)
Scott R. Bayman, Former President and CEO, GE India; Senior Director, Stonebridge International and Chairman, Stonebridge India
Marshall M. Bouton, President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Vishakha N. Desai, President, Asia Society
Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania
Victor J. Menezes, Senior Advisor, New Silk Route Partners, LLC
Jamie F. Metzl, Executive Vice President, Asia Society
George Rupp, CEO and President, International Rescue Committee; Former President, Columbia University
Teresita Schaffer, Director, South Asia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Top Stories on CFR


Russia’s moves to mobilize thousands more troops and to annex more of Ukraine’s territory signal a new, potentially more dangerous phase of the war.

Puerto Rico

The Caribbean island, which shares a close yet fraught relationship with the rest of the United States, faces a multilayered economic and social crisis rooted in long-standing policy and compounded by natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, migration, and government mismanagement.

Censorship and Freedom of Expression

Suzanne Nossel, the Chief Executive Officer of PEN America, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss growing threats around the world to free expression and how the fight to protect human rights needs to adapt to succeed in a world of great power competition.