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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Throughout the Cold War, relations between the United States and India were defined by the two countries’ often mismatched worldviews, national priorities, and capabilities. These three factors prevented Washington and New Delhi from realizing the full potential of their relationship, despite the natural kinship bestowed by their shared identity as liberal democracies. Today, although Cold War-era non-alignment politics and the irritant of India’s exclusion from the international nuclear non-proliferation regime have largely abated, vestiges of these structural constraints persist even as India opens itself to global markets and undertakes economic reforms. To make good on the strategic partnership to which they have committed themselves and which is especially important given China’s rising power, both countries must define a minimally acceptable notion of reciprocity in their interactions by reconciling the American expectations of exchange-based relations with the Indian desire for a no-obligations partnership that preserves its strategic autonomy.

Keywords: United States, India, Cold War, strategic partnership, non-proliferation, non-alignment, strategic autonomy

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