The rise of China and India as major powers by 2020, as predicted by a US intelligence report, is good news for growing Indis-US relations.
In a scenario where China emerges as a superpower and thus a potential threat to the US' sole superpower status, the US will team up with India to counter China's ambitions, said K Subrahmanyam, top strategy expert, here Monday.
"It is inevitable that India and the US will come together under pressures of mutuality of interest," said Subrahmanyam, who headed the Kargil panel appointed by the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government. He was speaking at a seminar organised by SAPRA India Foundation, a think tank on security and strategic issues, on the future of India-US relations.
Enthusiastically endorsing this vision of India and the US morphing into natural allies, Ram Narayanan, an activist who has spawned a worldwide net of friends of India through his website, expounded passionately on "the inevitability of a solid and comprehensive US-India strategic partnership."
Said Narayanan: "If the US does not want to surrender its current position in world affairs to China, it must have a close partnership with India. For this marriage of commitment to happen, it is entirely up to the US to say yes, to wear the ring on its finger."
Outlining the synergies and congruencies between India and the US, Subrahmanyam said: "Geography has placed India and the US together. There is a 12-hr time difference between the US and India. When America goes to sleep, India can take the work forward and vice versa.
The combination of the US and India can generate maximum efficiency in the area of intellectual labour. India's growing middle class market and its awesome brainpower will prove added attractions to the US, he said.
"The only way the US can sustain its power is by retaining its dominance of the knowledge industry. For the US' dominance to continue, the US has to ensure that its brainpower doesn't fall below that of Europe or China. Importing brains from India will be a major stimulant of US-India relations," said Subrahmanyam.
There were also some critical notes in this predominantly melodious rendition of the US-India relations. Former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy stressed the need for a more proactive involvement of 1.7 million Indians settled in the US in influencing perceptions of India with American policy makers.
"Instead of being obsessed with photo-ops in the media, the Indian American community can play a far bigger role in promoting a better understanding of India," said the senior diplomat.
While ruling out a defence alliance, former Indian Army chief Gen V.P. Malik spoke of deepening of ties between the US and India as a continuous process.
In the end, what emerged from a multiplicity of opinions was an overwhelming consensus on taking the US-India relations forward. But one thing is certain: whichever way global power relations finally shape up, India's relationship with the US will be central to the balance of power.
Narayanan's aggressively optimistic vision will probably find more converts in the US strategy establishment. "If the US does not wish to end up playing second fiddle in a global orchestra, it is very very clear what she needs to do. And who she needs to do it with."