The visit comes at a time when the Obama administration is making overtures to China and focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Indians are worried their rank on the White House priority list is falling. While U.S.-India relations are generally strong, in what is often seen as the zero-sum struggle for White House attention, New Delhi simply can't compete with Beijing and is increasingly worried about what that means for power politics in Asia.Obama should be pressing for India's permanent accession to the UN Security Council, but probably won't.
"From the Indian point of view, they are very unhappy with Obama," said Stephen Cohen, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, "Indians are really bent out of shape by what they see as a shift of American policy from India to China in Asia. This is complicated by America's dependence on Pakistan."
I've argued before that India is a critical ally in SE Asia, and stand by that. It's absurd to see Obama, supposedly the wunderkind who would make America popular again internationally, failing to balance interests and alienating a country that could be a strong source of support down the road. And disengaging with India only makes the situation with Pakistan less stable -- not more. Obama really does seem to be failing spectacularly on the international stage, and it's sad to see.