Obama's statement is a product of a new India policy team set up two weeks ago within his campaign team. The team, co-chaired by two prominent Indian-Americans Vinod Khosla and Swadesh Chatterjee, includes some 20 Indian-Americans and South Asia experts from Bill Clinton's administration. A key member of the team and the only Indian-American in Obama's inner circle is Preeta Bansal, a Harvard Law School colleague of Obama.
But there is also a view that it's not just about votes; the Indian legend is known across the world. Obama, a graduate in law from Harvard University, is likely to have read about the brilliance of Manekshaw in the 1971 war. As a senior Indian military officer put it, Manekshaw's field tactics in the 1971 war is taught in war colleges across the world as a "masterpiece".