The Indian and U.S. governments, far apart during the Cold War, have now started building on the solid foundation created by individuals and corporations. The George W. Bush–Manmohan Singh nuclear deal of 2005 was a landmark event. Later, President Obama backed India for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.
Individuals and corporations have also taken the lead in expanding India’s footprint in other countries across the globe. The India‐based Tata group is now the largest private‐sector employer in the United Kingdom. As in the Indo-U.S. case, Sino‐Indian commercial and individual relationships have also grown despite cool governmental relations, and could one day lead to warmer political relations.
The lesson is that good economic policy is good foreign policy, too. Indian foreign policy should promote measures that expand individual and corporate ties with the United States, as well as other countries. This means embracing globalization and emphasizing international exchanges in trade, investment, and the movement of people. India must see the movement of talented Indians abroad as mutually enriching “brain circulation,” not a “brain drain.” Even those Indians who do not return to India become a foreign policy asset in the shape of a powerful diaspora. Indian diplomacy needs to pay more attention to harnessing this asset.