India is the brightest light in the South Asian constellation and as the world's largest democracy the country is a natural partner for the United States, a top American lawmaker has said.
"The brightest light in South Asia's constellation and the strategic centre of gravity for the region is India, which has been on a sustained path toward economic and political empowerment," Congressman Gary Ackerman said during a Congressional hearing on South Asia on Tuesday.
"As the world's largest democracy India is a natural partner for the United States, and I'm delighted by the way that our relations have blossomed ever since the Clinton administration," he said, but added that America's relations with India are still too narrow and still too shallow.
He said outdated rules, regulations and laws are limiting the attractiveness and accessibility of India as a destination for business and investment and the country is a good market for American defence equipments.
"On the defence and security side, things are going well between our two defence establishments, and I have high hopes that they will go much further still. America makes the best defencive equipment in the world and India's security requirements are very, very real," he said.
But, he said,"the United States has failed India in that we have not used our diplomatic leadership and agenda to setting capability to focus global attention to the threat to India from Pakistan-based terrorists, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, that continue to raise money from all over the world," he said.
"If there is, God forbid, another Mumbai-like strike, we will not be able to say that we did our utmost to prevent it because in truth, we haven't. The ambitions of these terrorists have only grown and a full-fledged global campaign to crush these thugs still awaits at our peril," Ackerman said.