NEW YORK - US President George W Bush's penchant for unilateral deeds, and his conviction in favour of democracies, helped raise India to the status of a strategic ally, an article in a major American newspaper said Sunday, with analysts predicting even more deeper ties between the two countries. "The relationship with India is one of the few success stories of the Bush administration's foreign policy," said Teresita Schaffer, a scholar at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who ran the State Department's South Asia desk under the first President Bush. Schaffer was cited as making that statement in The New York Times article, entitled: 'India Has a Soft Spot for Bush' published in its Sunday edition's "Week in Review" section. Shashi Tharoor, a leading Indian writer and former under secretary general of the United Nations, went further: "In 20 years I expect the Indo-US relationship to resemble the Israel-US relationship, and for many of the same reasons." (Tharoor, as India's candidate, lost his bid for the post of UN secretary-general to Ban Ki-moon of South Korea.) The Times' article opens with what Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said during a visit to Washington in September about Bush, who had pushed hard for the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal. "This may be my last visit to you during your presidency," Singh told Bush, "and let me say, Thank you very much. The people of India deeply love you." To that comment, The Times article said, "Among the least coveted jobs in the world today, along with grave digging, is the task of burnishing President Bush's foreign legacy: the complex, competing challenges of Iraq, Afghanistan, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, North Korea, China and what many in Europe and the third world see as a tarnished national brand... "George W Bush's critics often link his idiosyncratic temperament to his administration's diplomatic misadventures. But among Indians, who in the main have no love for his ideology, even his critics say the traits for which Bush is so often condemned were, in India's case, benignly applied: his penchant for unilateral deeds, and his moral conviction that democracies are simply better than non-democracies". "Bush is driven by ideology and instincts, not by nuance thinking," said Ashutosh Varshney, a political scientist and South Asia expert at Brown University. "Bush's ideology convinced him that, of the two rising stars on the world stage, India was preferable." (The other is, of course, China.) In July 2006 " 15 years after the Soviet Union collapsed and five years after the 9/11 attacks " The Times said Bush decisively reversed course. "Raising India to the status of a strategic ally, he cut a unique exception in the global nonproliferation regime, proposing that India be allowed to keep its military stockpile even as it gained access to technologies and fuel for its civilian reactors. Over the next two years Mr. Bush used dwindling political capital to get the deal approved by the Congress and foreign governments. When Pakistan requested a similar pact, it was told that such deals were reserved for 'responsible' states. "This was the diplomacy of the grand gesture, and when this barrier fell others followed. The American and Indian militaries increased joint exercises. They exchanged trade delegations. Their companies won expanded access to the other's markets. American officials began to talk up India as a rising great power in a new century". Gautam Adhikari, the editorial page editor of The Times of India, a leading English-language daily, was saying that the turnaround was "on par with the turnaround in US-China ties brought about by Nixon starting in 1972." In America, the sentiment was echoed by Nicholas Burns, who retired last year as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's right-hand man: "Within 20 years, the rise of the new US-India partnership will be considered among the most important developments in US foreign policy in our time." "As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office this month, he has avoided the fawning praise of India that has become fashionable in some Washington circles," the article said. "But experts on the region say that India-United States ties now have a momentum of their own. Industries in each country now have a vested interest in deepening ties with their counterparts. In Afghanistan, Indian and American teams are working side by side on nation building. And there is the Indian-American lobby in America, which is increasingly influential. "But this new focus on India is also potentially dangerous for the world, because it neglects Pakistan and its quest to grow the ranks of its relatively Western-oriented middle class" Stephen Cohen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, cited America's refusal to grant tariff relief to Pakistani textiles - a small measure, compared to the nuclear deal - that he said would have helped to raise the opportunity cost of terrorism in Pakistan. "Helping India while ignoring the pathological developments in Pakistan was no favour to India, let alone Pakistan," Cohen was quoted as saying.