Updated: 2015-01-28 07:35http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2015-01/28/content_19424628_2.htmSince Sept 11, 2001, security has trumped commerce in US policy. But its failure in Iraq and Afghanistan to defeat non-conventional enemy forces and the spread of Islamic State cells in the United States and the European Union has led Washington to look toward India as an essential military partner.
During US President Barack Obama's visit to India from Jan 25 to 27, the two sides extended the 10-year Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2005 by another decade, and made the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative the vehicle for future bilateral collaboration to develop high-tech weapons and systems.
Along with production, intelligence cooperation between the two sides will also increase, perhaps to the same level that the US has with the United Kingdom. The national security advisors of the two countries will have their own hotline so that they can communicate regularly.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Obama understand that India and the US face the same threats, and have to jointly, rather than separately, deal with them. The enhanced US-India security partnership that has resulted from Obama's second visit to India is not directed against China, a country that is economically important to the US and India both.
Instead, the US-India partnership will focus on fighting terrorism and ensuring the smooth flow of trade through air, land and sea, which would benefit all countries that focus on economic development.
Modi has made improved economic relations with China a priority next only to a security partnership with the US, which is good news for Chinese companies, for they will invest up to $20 billion in India in the next five years.
But in all this, India has not forgotten old friends such as Russia. It has stayed away from countries that have been critical of Moscow because of the Ukraine crisis.
What Modi seeks is not the zero-sum game of "either the US or China" but the win-win outcome of establishing transformational relationships with the US and China both.
M.D. Nalapat is vice-chair of the Manipal Advanced Research Group and UNESCO peace chair, and professor of geopolitics at Manipal University, India.