Obama in India: Why president's visit is also about China

Image copyright AP

America's former Ambassador to India says China is watching President Obama's visit to Delhi "through a microscope".

Tim Roemer believes that with a bit more foreign policy confidence, India can play a useful role in balancing power in Asia. Translated, that means America is keen to have a counter to China's clout and is wooing India to play that role.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionTimothy Roemer discusses the significance of President Obama's trip to India

This trip is clearly a big deal for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As head of the world's largest democracy, he wants to assume the role of global statesman - and sitting next to a smiling Mr Obama at the Republic Day parade is a great PR coup for him.

But it's worth remembering that questions over Mr Modi's human rights record and Hindu nationalist policies meant that a year ago the Indian leader couldn't even have obtained a visa to come to America.

So for Mr Obama, there are risks in this relationship too.

Related Topics

More on this story