WASHINGTON - There is a sense in the strategic community in New Delhi, intensified by clashes with China on the Himalayan border, that India needs to deepen its relationship with the United States.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to New Delhi on a swing through south Asia - after which he also visited Vietnam - is seen as part of that, Straits Times India bureau chief Nirmala Ganapathy told Asian Insider.
That, and India's invitation to Australia to join the annual Malabar naval exercises, show that India's hesitation - for fear of upsetting China - is gone, Ms Ganapathy told Asian Insider video host Nirmal Ghosh, ST's US bureau chief.
The Malabar exercises will now feature all four countries of the so-called Quad - India, Japan, Australia and the United States.
And if Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden wins the Presidency, while there will be more pressure on India in terms of human rights specially in Kashmir, the close defence and strategic relationship will likely continue whoever wins the White House.
India, like China and several other Asian countries, is keenly tracking the US elections.
In China, the leadership is of the view that whoever is elected, it will not end Washington's hawkishness on China, said China correspondent Elizabeth Law.
And ironically, while President Donald Trump has been tough on China and ramped up the trade war, he has also been good for President Xi Jinping in terms of triggering Chinese national solidarity, she said, in the same episode.