Cultural misperceptions lie at the heart of this controversy. By Indian reckoning, the highly public arrest of a diplomat, and the strip-search that followed, was a direct insult to Indian sensibilities.
If recent headlines are to be believed, the arrest and alleged mistreatment of Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade on December 12 in Manhattan have triggered an unprecedented deterioration in bilateral relations between Washington and New Delhi.
This is not a trivial incident, but it shouldn't have mushroomed into the crisis it has become. Such treatment of a diplomat charged with visa fraud predictably raised eyebrows and may raise broader questions of parity about how the United States expects its owns diplomats to be treated.
The potential for what the United States and India can achieve together remains significant, even in light of the obstacles afflicting bilateral ties at the moment. The two countries are witnessing a convergence of interests in an increasing number of critical and diverse arenas.
With $60 billion in trade revenues between the two nations, it's imperative that India-U.S. trade is based on market forces, not Indian government dictates. American jobs are at stake and our long-term competitiveness hangs in the balance.
Narendra Modi is a controversial political leader who nonetheless has had enormous success in the economic and social development of his state. I'm no fan (or opponent) of Modi. What concerns me is the violation of important principles when he was uninvited from the Wharton India Economic Forum.
But for a country that aspires to great power status, which actively seeks a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, the Iranian oil crisis is India's first great test of the 21st century: can a true world leader be non-aligned in a globalized world?
Imagine a country that declares its independence from Great Britain, forges democracy from diversity, enjoys robust economic growth, and emerges as a world power. You've just described the United States -- and modern India.