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A nation must think before it acts.
Both Washington and New Delhi share blame for the loss of momentum in bilateral relations. Unlike its predecessor, the Obama administration has not displayed much interest in high-profile cooperation, while the paralysis of the current Indian government has constrained its own capacity for engagement. Nonetheless, more progress has been made in the relationship in recent years than is generally appreciated. With the presidential election cycle beginning in the United States and India conducting an important round of state-level elections in early 2012, the best use of diplomatic resources in the short term is to focus on consolidating these promising trends. Yet once leaders on both sides are able to re-engage more fully, perhaps as soon as 2013, they should give priority attention to further deepening the partnership through a set of galvanizing initiatives that bolster the non-governmental links that are key in securing the growth of broad-based, resilient relations over the long term.