WASHINGTON (TIP): Top US expert on South Asia Stephen Cohen believes that Washington may have to “reconsider its attitude” towards India if Narendra Modi goes on to become the country’s next Prime Minister. As Cohen sees the emerging situation, an India under Modi is going to be “squeaking aloud” and attracting much more attention than hitherto.
So much so America will have to “adjust” to that – strategically, politically and economically. At an event at the Brookings Institution to launch the book, “Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Super Power”, Cohen noted that even as Modi sets about transforming India’s economy, he would be gaining more muscle to leverage the foreign policy. The thrust of Modi’s strategy, according to Cohen, will be to reorder India’s relationship with China, and use the latter’s influence over Pakistan, the United States and in general.
He reckons Modi will be tougher towards China, yet more cooperative with it. “I think he is going to expand this into strategic advantage for India. That he is going to use the economic relationship with East Asia (China, Japan and South Korea), especially China, to enhance India’s power elsewhere,” he said, commenting he was unsure how Americans would be responding to the unfolding situation.
Indian Ambassador S Jaishankar, speaking earlier, made the case for “reimagining” India-US relationship. “It is an important factor in the future development of India. And it awaits its next quantum leap patiently,” he said, without going into the current political dynamics in India. The India book, a collection of 62 essays by a host of distinguished specialists from India and the US, has been published by the top consulting firm, McKinsey. “The issues of this book are the very debates of India’s 16th general elections that are still unfolding. And if you look at what our political parties are doing, they are actually asking the voters to reimagine India, locally, regionally or nationally,” Jaishankar said.