As much as the American and Indian strategic thinkers emphasize the commonality of democracy in the United States and India to emphasize the prospect of a strong and “natural” alliance, the fledgling alliance itself, if it were to be called that at all, is an unruly and rambunctious one. From the US side, the chief reason for that is their old habit of attempting to dictate a “code of conduct” to its allies for them to live by. Needless to say, of all the countries in the world, India is the last country to be expected to behave like a supplicant, especially of a declining superpower. From India’s side, the chief reason is the very rambunctious nature of its democracy, which has a long tradition of being suspicious of the United States. In the heyday of the Cold War years, the United States made the mistake (from India’s vantage point) of siding with Pakistan in the long-standing “cold war” of South Asia. Consequently, aside from developing its own stout framework of dependence on a highly accommodative Soviet Union for its defense needs, India also found the leadership of the “non-aligned movement” (NAM) to constantly lecture the mandarins of the United States’ foreign policy about the “immorality” of the Cold War. That Indian role was music to the ears of every single Soviet dictator. India’s “payback” to the former Soviet Union for its strategic partnership was a sustained manifestation of affinity and friendship toward it, even the former Soviet Union committed the worst faux pas of its existence by invading and occupying Afghanistan in 1979. India was the only democratic state that was not critical of that action.
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