Moreover, a new generation of ambitious businessmen knows that America underpins the stable and open international order that India needs to fulfill its economic promise. India's generals understand that New Delhi should not go out of its way to stick a finger in China's eye. But they're also aware that India can hardly afford to be sanguine about the rise of a powerful one-party neighboring state with claims on its territory.
All but the most ardent America-bashers have figured out that other countries respect economic achievement more than fictitious bonds of Third World solidarity. For Indian strategic thinkers who view geopolitics through the prism of economics, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore evoke admiration as sophisticated societies that immeasurably bettered the lives of their own citizens in part by maintaining close ties with the world's foremost power. And though America may indeed appear to be in relative decline, anyone with a sense of history knows that many have bet against it bouncing back in the past -- and lost.
Nonetheless, this evolution in Indian thought needs to be speeded up. The sooner India realizes that nonalignment has about as much relevance to the 21st century as Nehruvian economics, and the sooner it begins to root its foreign policy in reality rather than abstraction, the more likely it is to start doing right by its people and its partners.