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U.S.-India Strategic Relations: Implications for Contemporary Power Politics

As U.S. policymakers have reached a bipartisan consensus on bolstering Washington’s strategic partnership with New Delhi amid escalating competition with the PRC, this course seeks to enhance a thought leader’s ability to conduct the art of strategy making sustainably. It also explores realistic ways of strengthening the bilateral relationship by turning existing constraints into potential opportunities. The U.S. is the world’s most powerful democracy, and India is the world’s most populous democracy. While both states currently share some intrinsic outward political traits, India seeks to promote its alternative perceptions of global governance and sociopolitical norms. Additionally, a plethora of domestic challenges in India have prevented the most populous state from achieving its desired economic and political status on the world stage.

As such, this course will begin with a broader discussion of the historical evolution of U.S.-India relations and the rise of Delhi’s economic and geopolitical clout since the Cold War era. The course will draw historical guidance to illustrate the complex nuances between the evolving dynamics of partnerships and alliances and how such factors prompt a national leader to execute strategic decisions.

The second section of the course will cover wide-ranging issues concerning India’s unique external threat perception and defensive foreign policy, which seeks to strictly observe political neutrality – a marked distinction from the West’s traditional alliance framework. Understanding India’s growing insecurities will require a closer look at its interactions with other key players within the subregional context.

The final segment will examine unexplored opportunities for greater Indo-American cooperation and multilateral cooperation via the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or “Quad” – an informal strategic forum between Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S. that has garnered considerable attention in recent years.


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