The flux in US-India relationship has evoked consternation within the analyst community, particularly in the US. In a recent article, analyst Sameer Lalwani wrote that repeated “India fatigue” (a term to describe India’s inability to match US strategic engagement expectations) is a consistent feature of defense discussions in US and that structural factors are not in consonance with the expectations of the relationship. The article ended on a pessimistic note by conceding that the potential of the relationship is likely to be held hostage to those factors.
The ‘India Fatigue’ lens essentially looks at the trajectory of the US-India ties from the conception (or rather misconception) of strategic synergy as described by US and therefore a false sense of the outcomes. A large part of this can be attributed to the fact that structural factors in the relationship are often relegated to US concerns only. This can be corrected if US has an explicit India strategy to counter the structural factors in the relationship are often relegated to US concerns only. This can be corrected if US has an explicit India strategy to counter the structural impediments rather than the ragtag mix spread across documents to no avail.
The momentum in US-India relationship is driven by the understanding reached at the level individual leadership but constrained by divergence on individual issues. The founding basis of US-India strategic convergence was however always about concurrence on the kind of role US-India ties would play in the world order and not convergence of views on individual countries or issues. Yet this is what has come to define the consensus and success of the relationship. So, a large part of the analysis is based on how India has not delivered for the US on the nuclear deal, trade issues, US disappointment about defense deals, India relationship with Iran and so on.
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