15 September 2012

The U.S.—India's favourite major power

With the unwitting collaboration of an idiot "film-maker" in Los Angeles, irresponsible imams in the Middle East and Islamic extremists leading to the besieging of American embassies, the United States does not appear to be winning the hearts and minds of Islam these days. Not that it was doing much of that before.

Americans may be consoled however by their popularity in the Hindu world. The United States is India's favourite major power. According to a Pew Research Center survey, far more Indians hold favourable views of the U.S. than of China or Russia. Needless to say, very few have a favourable opinion of their neighbour Pakistan, although a solid majority do want to improve relations.

Not only do they hold favourable views of the U.S., they support the Americans on key issues. For example, they strongly support a free market economy, place freedom to pursue life’s goals above the state playing an active role in guaranteeing that nobody is in need, oppose Iran developing nuclear weapons, and approve of the U.S. fight against terrorism including drone strikes. Indians much prefer Obama over Putin or Hu Jintao, and a solid majority want to see him re-elected.

When it comes to culture, the results are rather different. A majority of urban Indians dislike American music, movies and television and most think the spread of American customs in India is a bad thing. I would have suspected the opposite, that they would like the culture but not the foreign policies, but it is not so. It isn't surprising though, considering that 80 per cent say they want to shield their traditional culture from globalization. 

In any case, while the Islamic world besieges American embassies, the Hindu world maintains a friendly face.

No comments:

Post a Comment