Wednesday, August 10, 2005
In what could become the world's most significant 21st-century strategic alliance, a strengthened partnership is forming between the two largest English-speaking democracies: the United States and India. President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cemented bilateral ties in recent White House talks, paving the way for greater trade, investment and technological collaboration. In time and with the cooperation of other friendly powers in the region -- notably, Japan and Australia -- this new alliance could emerge as an essential counterweight to China. Essentially, it will be an Anglospheric alliance in Asia and the Pacific Rim.Read the whole excellent piece by Larry Kudlow. As he notes, India is not only the world's largest democracy, but also is also an Anglospheric liberal democracy, sharing in the British heritage of parliamentarism and common law (not to mention sporting obsessions like cricket). English is the second language, and after decades of statist mismanagement, the country is powering ahead, creating a very strong - and numerically significant - middle class. It now accounts for around 20 per cent of the population (and growing fast) - that's a staggering 200 million-plus people. Of course, it will take decades to slowly improve the lives of the other eight hundred million or so - but so it will in China.
Which, of course, is another aspect of the relationship that Kudlow only briefly touches upon - the United States needs a counter-balance to the growing global influence of the Red Giant, and India is the only country which can strategically provide it.
It is just as well, because the latest opinion research suggests that India is currently the most pro-American country in the world, with 71 per cent of the population having a positive opinion of America (in contrast to the rest of the world, a substantial increase over the past three years). This has, undoubtedly, something to do with the growth of the aspirational, entrepreneurial middle class, which is comfortable with globalization and has regular contact with the United States, but I would venture a guess that on a deeper level, India can feel a strategic kinship with the United States, having in the past faced off on numerous occasions against both China as well as radical Islam.