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U.S.-India defense trade has surpassed $9 billion in the past five years. Even though bilateral trade in goods and services is on track to reach a new high of $100 billion this year, U.S. trade is falling as a percentage of India’s overall economy.

“This means India is moving ahead in its economic relations with other countries, and even though the aggregate volume for the U.S. is going up, its percentage is going down,” said Mr. Inderfurth, who is currently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“A bilateral investment treaty can help get more American investors and traders interested in India and vice versa,” he added.

The U.S. and India are in talks to finalize a bilateral investment treaty that would accelerate investment flows, create jobs and generate growth.

U.S. firms also stand to gain as India plans to spend more than $1 trillion on infrastructure in the next five years. However, the pace of economic reforms — key to unleashing the true potential of the U.S.-India relationship — has slowed.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in the role of finance minister in the early 1990s, was the architect of his nation’s economic reforms.

“We are hopeful to see that Manmohan Singh return and open up markets, retail markets, banking markets, infrastructure opportunities for U.S. businesses so they are not discouraged from competing for infrastructure projects like current law often does in India,” Mr. Roemer said.

A civilian nuclear deal initiated by the George W. Bush administration also has stalled.

“We have seen a historic and very important [civil nuclear] agreement go backwards in some ways with the [Indian] Parliament passing liability legislation that turned the law upside down,” Mr. Roemer said.

Some analysts interpret these developments as a sign that the U.S.-India relationship has gone adrift.

Mr. Blake rebuts the suggestion: “The U.S.-India partnership is much more than a quest for ‘the next big thing.’”