When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the White House next week, he will carry with him grand hopes for a re-energized partnership between his country and the United States. Fresh off a landslide victory in the Indian elections, Modi has seized an outright majority in parliament and a mandate for sweeping domestic reform. For years, the former chief minister of Gujarat faced an American visa ban due to his alleged role in violent riots. Now, the new premier's visit represents a key opportunity to recharge a critical bilateral relationship.
It's one the United States and India should seize.
Routinely described as "natural allies," India and the United States have over the past year seemed more like estranged partners, united more by a sense of dashed expectations than by a shared approach to common challenges.
India's economy, which grew 7.4% annually between 2000 and 2011, fell to 4.5% growth in 2012 and has rebounded only slightly since. The economic slowdown prompted a more inward focus in New Delhi and questions in Washington about India's ability to generate national power.