Ashley J Tellis discusses what the USA should expect from a strategic partnership with India (PDF):
"The strengthening U.S.-Indian bond does not imply that New Delhi will become a formal alliance partner of Washington at some point in the future. It also does not imply that India will invariably be an uncritical partner of the United States in its global endeavors. India’s large size, its proud history, and its great ambitions, ensure that it will likely march to the beat of its own drummer, at least most of the time. When the value of the U.S.-Indian relationship is at issue, the first question for the United States, therefore, ought not to be, “What will India do for us?”—as critics of the Bush administration’s civilian nuclear agreement with New Delhi have often asserted in recent memory. Rather, the real question ought to be, “Is a strong, democratic (even if perpetually independent) India in American national interest?” If this is the fundamental question and if the answer to this question is “Yes”—as it ought to be, given the convergence in U.S. and Indian national security goals—then the real discussion about the evolution of the U.S.-Indian relationship ought to focus on how the United States can assist the growth of Indian power, and how it can do so at minimal cost (if that is relevant) to any other competing national security objectives."