U.S. and India Military Relations: Aligned not Bound

  • Lieutenant Colonel Matthew R. Nation

In 2012, the United States announced its Rebalance to the Pacific, creating a new focus on Asian security for U.S. policy makers. From ensuring universal access to the global commons, to managing China’s responsible growth, Washington requires a long-term strategic partner to share the burden and India is at the top of the list. India, a democratic nuclear power and home to a fifth of the world’s population, is looking east to forge partnerships to further its own economic and security interests. The U.S. and India have a spotty history together that warrants analysis, but since the turn of the century, more areas of convergence than divergence exist between them. With progressive leadership in both nations setting conditions for further meaningful relations, established military ties between the U.S. and India provide an optimal platform to advance mutual interests. With India’s long-standing policy of non-alignment as a backdrop, India must increase its role as a security provider. These former British colonies must work together to compliment each other’s policies to maintain a strategic equilibrium in the Indian Ocean and South East Asia regions.