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PacNet #53A – Obama Visit to India: Role of US and India in East Asia

On Nov. 5, President Barack Obama became the first US president in more than three decades to pay a state visit to India during his first term in office. Though rich in personal warmth and symbolism, the visit lacked the strategic substantiality of his predecessor’s March 2006 visit. At the time, President George W. Bush, rolling back decades of US policy, had ushered New Delhi across the nonproliferation rubicon by bestowing a landmark implementation agreement entailing sharing of nuclear reactors, fuel and expertise to Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) nonsignatory India. More importantly, in formally affirming a US interest to cultivate India as a “major world power in the 21st century,” Bush had exponentially expanded India’s diplomatic space perceptually.