India Fears Losing US Favor Even as Obama Fetes Manmohan Singh

Article excerpt

As India's prime minister Manmohan Singh arrives to a red carpet welcome in Washington Monday - the first state guest of President Barack Obama - commentators in India seemed more preoccupied with the United States' growing friendship with China.

Ties between India and the US are stronger than they have been in decades. Bilateral trade has surged, doubling since 2004 to more than $43 billion a year. Last year the two countries signed a landmark civil nuclear deal, agreed upon by Mr. Singh and former US President George Bush in 2005, that brought India out of nuclear isolation and symbolized a sea change in the countries' political relationship. Indeed, the US sees a vital role for India in the battle against terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan and in a host of other issues from world trade to climate change.

But while talks between Mr. Singh and Mr. Obama scheduled for Tuesday are likely to focus on such matters as Afghanistan, climate change, and cooperation on nuclear energy, pundits in India are more interested in the question of where the US's new friendship with China, as well as its relationship with Pakistan, leaves India.

"We may aspire to a seat at the high table of world power but China is already sitting at the head of the table along with the United States," wrote journalist Gautam Adhikari in the Times of India Monday. …