Visit of the most hyped president of US to largest democracy of the world have raised more questions than it seems to have answered. I will be comparing the two aspects
1.) How US-Indian relation should be (keeping in purview their mutual interest, policies and priorities)
2.) How are they as of now.
On the surface there appears to be every reason for the two countries to understand each other very well and be strong allies. India is by far the best functioning and genuine free system of any of the nations achieving independence after the Second World War.
India became unified in its present dimensions because Britain gave the subcontinent a geographic, administrative and legal expression. Hence the present Indian state is organised on the basis of Western Liberal principles of Democracy. This makes India only nation which resembles the US structure and government sharing common governing ideologies, unlike China or gulf Nations.
From Aden to Myanmar, American and Indian interests run parallel. Neither country wishes to see a fundamentalist Islamic nation dominate the region even as motives for this attitude differ. India is more concerned about Pakistan’s fundamentalism whereas America with Iran. US' relations with Pakistan have always been questioned and unanswered by their diplomats. Possible reasons are that India would never allow any nation to have military base on their terrain and hence to have control on South East Asia and South Asia, US has to join hands with Pakistan.
Yet both nations (US-India) have had great difficulty in coming close to each other. Than be it US alliance with Pakistan during 1950 to 1960s or Indian nuclear test in 1999 all have blighted American-Indian relation. Obama trip was more like a CEO visit than a diplomat visit to a nation. US backing India for a permanent seat in Security Council was the only strategic issue discussed.
Challenge is not to reargue the debate of decades and discuss petty issue like outsourcing or “Bangalore kids taking jobs from Philadelphia kids” but to give impetus to the basis of a new Indian-American relationship. For under the conditions of the post cold war and fast changing 21st century, a close cooperative relationship between the two countries is in their mutual and basic interests, but unfortunately Barack Obama November trip was like “True friends who hang around, even when they have little of substance to talk about.