Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington presents an opportunity for the Biden administration to clarify how it views India’s role in the Indo-Pacific region. It’s common for Western alliances to refer to India as a partner that can counterbalance the threats posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
This strategy, however, requires much more explanation. It’s not clear exactly the U.S. seeks from India. It’s also worth asking if Mr. Modi sees his country in this role. India has taken advantage of this proposition in both bilateral and multilateral settings. However, Mr. Modi has yet to affirmatively embrace it beyond mere acknowledgment that India is being asked to step up.
India has navigated its relationship with the PRC carefully. There are differences ranging from border disputes to a clash of civilizations. The last outbreak of conflict at the roughly 2,100 mile border, known as the Line of Actual Control, occurred in Dec. 2022. Such skirmishes, however, have not prevented Mr. Modi from visiting the PRC five times as prime minister. He has also hosted President Xi Jinping in India.
Each has acknowledged the reality that mutual economic cooperation is highly beneficial for both nations. They differ, however,