HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY

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On Monday, President Barack Obama becomes the first American president to preside as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade, an annual spectacle that celebrates the country’s democracy by showcasing its cultural diversity and military might. Before Mr. Obama leaves New Delhi Tuesday, the U.S. and India will have announced a slew of agreements spanning everything from nuclear energy and weapons manufacturing to intelligence sharing. In short, it’s springtime for U.S-India relations.
But credit for the dramatic upswing in bilateral relations goes more to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to his American counterpart. Mr. Obama has responded positively to Mr. Modi’s overtures, but the president’s own record is decidedly mixed.
For much of Mr. Obama’s tenure, U.S.-India relations have been marked more by drift than dynamism. Unlike George W. Bush , Mr. Obama failed to designate an influential point-person to shepherd the India file (Mr. Bush had Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns ). The appointment of a special U.S. representative for Afghanistan amnd Pakistan diminished the State Department’s South Asia bureau and robbed top officials a say in policies crucial to the bilateral relationship.IMG-20150126-WA0033

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