ITS logic is inescapable yet the idea has been inconceivable: a strategic partnership between the two great democracies, the US and India, long divided by distrust and the Cold War. Yet it is happening. George W. Bush has reached out to India and one of the coming debates in global politics will be over the manner and meaning of his decision to support India's quest to become a global power. India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Washington in July, with Bush reportedly saying this will be treated as a "grand event", and at the year's end Bush will visit India. India is being wooed and its pride at this is palpable. The Bush administration has launched a diplomatic offensive with India that is stunning in its rhetoric and serious in its content. "India's relations with the US are now the best they have ever been," says Rajiv Sikri, the senior official on East Asia at India's external affairs ministry. Bush's thinking is shaped by India's democratic values in contrast with China's authoritarianism. Its strategic essence is the US view that India as a second Asian giant, capitalist, multicultural and democratic, will exert a gravitational pull that must limit China's aspiration as a future hegemon and help to balance its rise.