The United States as seen by India

In a positive light, overwhelmingly

It is difficult to get 71% of Indians to agree on anything. But Bill Rice’s post on the latest Pew survey reveals that by and large, Indians have some very good feelings about the United States.

Bill concludes that this counts as a success for the Bush administration’s foreign policy. But there is a danger that this too strengthen the perception that a rational, democratic, politically stable India can be taken for granted. In the event, it will be a mistake: the same survey shows that 45% of Indians view China’s rise positively. Eighty-one percent felt that the world will be better off if another country rivaled American military power.

It will be interesting to see how these perceptions will change especially after the outcome of India’s bid to secure a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. While it is unlikely that the United States will suddenly drop into disfavour, if India’s bid results in failure due to an American veto, its popularity ratings will certainly take a hit.

14 thoughts on “The United States as seen by India”

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  3. Hi Nitin ,

    I first came across your blog 2-3 weeks back , and since then I visit your site every day. I think you have one of the best Indian blogs out there and are in the same league as Amit Verma’s Indiauncut…Infact I would say your analysis of news , politics and security issues related to India are even superior to that of Amit’s. Heres wishing you all the best..

    regards ,

    Raj ,
    Bangalore.

  4. Indians are morons…..
    that doesnt include me ofcus I am the sole noble exception in this wretched nation

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  6. I think it’s safe to say that India is the second country the US has in mind when proposing the two more nations be given permanent UNSC seats, albeit without veto power. As I’ve mentioned before, I think the main concern the US has with giving India a permanent seat is its long history of voting against the US at the UN. Also, recent instances of veto threats by France (over Iraq) and China (over Sudan and, indirectly, over Iran) have made the US more fearful of an increase in the number of veto holders.

    I think if the US could get some assurances from India that they won’t veto American UNSC initiatives, even if they happen to vote no or abstain, the Bush Administration might change its mind on the issue, particularly given its interest in improving ties between the two nations. Doing so would also force China’s hand on the issue, and make it clear to India how its northern neighbor still views the country as a long-term rival more than a friend.

  7. I’ve no doubt that most Indians tend to view the US positively (although I would place this as a success of post cold-war Indo-US diplomacy rather than just Bush administration sucess).

    On the other hand, the 71% number seems way too high. We know how unreliable polls in India are, the large majority of the population doesn’t even count in the sample pool. [ The large majority of the population probably has no opinion whatsoever of the US].

    To the best of my recollection, the Pew numbers were lower 2 years back for India. All of this leads me to conclude that while the numbers are probably broadly correct, the 71% number, even whom those who have an opinion, are way too high.

    I doubt that a US position on the UN seat would make much difference to US popularity. But bread and butter issues (such as outsourcing restrictions) could, and so could any pressure by the US on India to curtail its missile or nuclear program.

  8. I think the main concern the US has with giving India a permanent seat is its long history of voting against the US at the UN.

    Well, yeah. That’s France’s job, and I don’t think it’s one the French are interested in outsourcing… ;-D

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