Long considered a “strategic backwater” from Washington’s perspective, South Asia has emerged in the 21st century as increasingly vital to core U.S. foreign policy interests. India, the region’s dominant actor with more than one billion citizens, is often characterized as a nascent major power and “natural partner” of the United States, one that many analysts view as a potential counterweight to China’s growing clout. Washington and New Delhi have been pursuing a “strategic partnership” since 2004, based on shared values such as democracy, pluralism, and rule of law. This book describes the numerous economic, security, and global initiatives, including plans for “full civilian nuclear energy cooperation,” which are underway. This book also explores the concerns of Congress with regards to the abuses of human rights, its tensions with Pakistan and religious freedoms in India.