India and its South Asian Neighbors: Where does the U.S. Fit In?

Read my article in the Brookings U.S.-India Policy Memo, January 20, 2015.

In seven months in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established himself as a decisive player in his immediate region, willing to turn on the charm but determined to maintain India’s primacy. His summits with the United States, Russia and the large East Asian powers have had a pronounced economic flavor, and Modi is encouraging these countries to compete with one another for India’s favor. He has made himself the central personality in all these relationships.

Modi sees no U.S. role in India-Pakistan relations. President Obama should draw Modi out on how India expects to exercise the leadership role it seeks, especially on the future of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Read the full article.

Read all the articles in the Policy Memo.

India and the WTO: A Reprieve

November 13, 2014: The announcement November 13 that India and the United States had agreed on a potential resolution of the dispute that threatened the future of the World Trade Organization was very welcome indeed. One of the comments that appeared on Twitter soon after the announcement was succinct: “Champagne?” The real answer is: no – a nice cup of tea would be more fitting. It will take some work to reverse the damaging impact of the four-month standoff that preceded it, and avoid a repeat.

Continue reading “India and the WTO: A Reprieve”

Modi in America:Economics as Strategy


Narendra Modi’s first official visit to Washington was set up before he had even been sworn in as prime minister, in a personal congratulatory phone call from President Obama. It was scheduled during the U.N. General Assembly, a significant and deliberate exception to the U.S. practice of avoiding Washington summits during General Assembly season. Especially after the 9 year freeze in Washington’s dealings with Modi, this was a good start, made better by the hope and determination both sides brought to the task.

Now, he and his American hosts need to energize their economic relationships on the way to setting some more ambitions strategic goals. Read the rest of our article in the Times of India, September 26, 2014.

Modi’s India: A View from Washington

(This article is adapted from remarks by Teresita Schaffer to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Oslo, September 20, 2014.)

Photo from flickr,

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington gives us an opportunity to look at the reasons the U.S. considers its relations with India strategic, and to reflect on how India-U.S. ties fit into India’s – and Modi’s – vision of India’s role in the world. The two visions still fit together a bit awkwardly, but this is a critical opportunity to continue the quest for better ways to work together. Continue reading “Modi’s India: A View from Washington”