Between a rock and a hard place
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a choice to make. He has just met Xi Jinping, the president of the People's Republic of China - a man so powerful The Economist this week calls him "Xi who must be obeyed".
He is about to meet Barack Obama, the embattled president of the United States, a thoughtful, perhaps vacillating man who is distinctly uncomfortable with the mantle of Leader of the Free World.
Where Mr Xi has triumphed over his rivals to a degree that has not been seen in China since the 1970s, Mr Obama is increasingly a Manmohanesque figure, hamstrung by his Republican opponents.
Mr Modi himself has domestic power somewhere in between these two; his massive mandate gives him considerable political capital that he has not yet spent on anything but buying time, but he is yet to deal with the many choke-points in the Indian system of government - not to mention the unfriendly Upper House.
The India-China-United States relationship is usually thought of in terms of Grand Strategy, whatever that is.
Are we "too close" to one or another? Are we compromising on non-alignment, or multilateral autonomy, or strategic independence, or whatever we're calling it this week?
Can we play one off the other, or use one to get concessions by making the other jealous?
I have always been a little doubtful about this. Perhaps Grand Strategy is a little like being a teenager at a dance, but one would think there would be more to it.
Text: Mihir S Sharma, Business Standard
Image courtesy: Reuters