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A flare-up in a long-running border dispute between China and India has raised the temperature in their bilateral relationship. Yet it may be just as significant for the trilateral U.S.-China-India relationship, which will do a great deal to shape the strategic landscape of the 21st century.

As the U.S.-China rivalry goes global, India may be the only nonaligned country that can, by itself, make a major difference in the balance of influence and advantage. The good news is that the geopolitics of the triangle are producing a tighter U.S.-India partnership. The bad news is that trade frictions and India’s internal politics are getting in the way.

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