But India's importance to the U.S. goes beyond trade. As the world's largest democracy, it is a crucial ally in the war on terror. The two countries participate regularly in a number of joint counter-terrorism programs, including the India-U.S. Cyberterrorism Forum. Future efforts will include workshops in Delhi and Washington and scientific exchanges.
India and the U.S. are also cooperating on conventional defense. Last October, about 2,000 Indian and U.S. Navy personnel took part in exercises--dubbed Malabar 04--off India's Southwest coast in an effort to coordinate naval activities in the region. A politically stable, economically sound and militarily capable India provides this country with an important counterweight to China's growing influence in Asia and globally.
All this comes amid new government statistics that show that tech employment in this country is now at its highest level since before 9-11, hardly an indication that offshoring is destroying the U.S. IT labor market, as some critics suggest. It's hardly surprising, then, that President Bush on Monday referred to the U.S.-Indian relationship as one of "vast potential" that should be encouraged to flourish.