New York University Business School professor Tunku Varadarajan writes at Forbes:
The truth is that, for all his unpopularity in the U.S. (and Europe, and Latin America, and the Middle East, and practically everywhere else outside Albania and Georgia), Bush is a much-appreciated figure in India–at least in high policy circles. As many have noted, both in Washington and New Delhi, the one indisputable foreign policy success of the eight Bush years was America’s invigorating new alliance with India–an alliance that is based as much in a sense of shared ideology (democracy, pluralism, etc.) as it is in strategic need (both countries want a reliable counterweight to China and face a common foe in Islamist terrorism).
Our own Kim Holmes shares a similar appraisal at the Washington Times:
By strengthening ties with India, Mr. Bush enhanced America’s strategic position in Asia. The question is: Will Mr. Obama continue and build on that relationship?
He is not off to a good start. During the campaign, Mr. Obama suggested that the United States should help resolve the Kashmir issue. This statement did not go down well in New Delhi. It raised the prospect of escalating violence in Kashmir as militants would try to influence the outcome of an international agreement. Thankfully, Mr. Obama as president has not repeated this campaign statement.
U.S. experts on India are also buzzing that the Obama administration may be backing away from Mr. Bush’s emphasis on the importance of our common democratic values. This would be a huge mistake. Democracies don’t agree on everything, but at least they share broad common values. These shared values undergird U.S.-Indian cooperation not only in combating terrorism, but in dealing with other issues, such as Afghanistan, the rise of China, economic development and military arms.