Finish what you started

Fourth, don't be too transactional. All good relationships are based on give and take. But they can't be sustained on the basis of constant accounting of what has been delivered by the other side. Exaggerated notions of what one or the other owes, leads to recrimination, bad blood and separation. Delhi and Washington can't allow the India-US partnership to become a nickel and dime operation, with senior figures in both capitals obsessing about the trivia and forgetting the big picture.

Five, intensify strategic cooperation in Asia. During the Cold War, the central problem for India and the US was their conflicting approaches towards Asia. The improvement of the bilateral relationship in the last few years has been rooted in greater convergence of their interests in Asia.

As Delhi and Washington try to develop separate, special relationships with Beijing, there is a danger of misreading each other's intentions. Both India and the US want a secure Afghanistan and moderate Pakistan, but their approaches are not always in sync. An honest conversation between Biden and the Indian leaders on the changing regional balance is critical at this juncture to prevent misperceptions from derailing India-US security cooperation in Asia.

The writer is a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Delhi and a contributing editor for 'The Indian Express'

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