Foreign Affairs
India-US relations: Indo-US relations in New Era

India-US relations share bilateral cooperation. It is broad-based and multi-sectoral, covering trade and investment, Defense and security, education, science and technology, cybersecurity, high technology, civil nuclear energy, space technology and applications, clean energy, environment, agriculture and health.

The United States is India’s most comprehensive strategic partner and cooperation between the two spans a wide range of sectors. In the present scenario, India-US relations are very close and good. In fact, India and the US attend many events and conferences together and stand together on many issues such as combating terrorism and both generally share a distrust of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. India and the United States keep on demonstrating their trust and friendship with each other in the international Forum.

India-U.S. The bilateral relationship has evolved into a “Global Strategic Partnership” based on shared democratic values and the growing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues. Historically, the US developed a two-pronged approach to the development of India’s power. On the one hand, it valued Indian stability and promoted aspects that served its larger interests.

This explains United States’s generosity when it comes to development programs at a time when our political relations were not at their best. When there were serious challenges like in 1962, United States policy-makers were really concerned about our future. But on the other hand, he worked to neutralize our regional dominance, working especially hard to ensure some parity with Pakistan.

The new government’s emphasis on development and good governance in India has created a new opportunity to reinvigorate bilateral ties and enhance cooperation under the new motto “Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go”, which was adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It was adopted on 30 September 2014 in Washington, DC with President Barack Obama following the first summit. , Regular exchanges of high-level political visits have provided sustained momentum to bilateral cooperation, while a comprehensive and ever-expanding dialogue architecture has strengthened the India-U.S. A long-term framework has been established.

India-US today’s Bilateral cooperation is broad-based and multi-sectoral, covering trade and investment, defense and security, education, science and technology, cybersecurity, high-technology, civil nuclear energy, space technology and applications, clean energy, environment, agriculture and health Are included.

Indo-US Relations Historical Background

President Harry S. Under the leadership of Truman, the United States enthusiastically supported India’s independence. He also won over his British allies, including Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who eventually succumbed to the prevailing situation in the Indian subcontinent. India became independent on August 15, 1947.

However, the two countries found themselves on the opposite spectrum of most foreign policy decisions post-independence. During the Cold War, the US actively tried to influence India to join its camp. India firmly refused to join either camp and re-implemented its ‘Non-Aligned Movement Policy’. By doing so, it enforced its ‘strategic autonomy’ and continues to do so in the present day.

India-US Relations

India had to pay a heavy price when the US supported its arch-rival Pakistan during the 1971 war and even on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). When there was a massive famine in India, the US ignored its request for food aid (especially wheat).

The latter sought to lure the nations into their camp using the PL-480 law. The disintegration of the USSR in 1991 further strengthened India’s ties with the US and its other allies such as Japan, Australia and Israel.

The US administration sanctioned several Indian organizations such as ISRO, and India’s peaceful nuclear program was also heavily approved. Finally, in 2006, both countries strengthened their partnership with the famous Indo-US nuclear deal.

Strategic Partnership

The US is one of the few countries with which India has signed a Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership Agreement and a 2+2 institutionalized dialogue mechanism (currently, India has one with all the QUAD countries- Japan and 2+2 Strategic Dialogue.)

This strategic partnership provides a framework for both countries to enhance their cooperation in various fields and ‘strategic domains’. The two countries have almost a common vision for global peace and prosperity.

India-US Foreign Policy Strategy

There are more than 50 bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two governments of India-US. The first two meetings of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue at the level of External Affairs Minister and Minister of State (Commerce & Industry) held were held in Washington DC in November 2015 and New Delhi in August 2016.

This top-level dialogue has added a commercial component to the five traditional pillars of bilateral India-US relations, on which the previous Strategic Dialogue Foreign Ministers focused,

  • Strategic cooperation;
  • Energy and climate change,
  • Education and development;
  • Economy, Trade and Agriculture; science and technology; And
  • Health and innovation.

The second meeting of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue was held on 30 August 2016 in New Delhi. Apart from the ministerial-level dialogue, it included the following points:

  • HOME (Homeland Security Dialogue),
  • Finance (Financial and Economic Partnership),
  • Commerce (Trade Policy Forum),
  • HRD (Higher Education Dialogue),
  • Science and Technology (Meeting of the Joint Commission on S&T) and
  • Energy (energy dialogue).

 Indo-US Relations Challenges

There have been challenges in balancing India’s multi-faceted relations with Iran and Russia. India has been forced to stop subsidizing oil imports from Iran and Russia, and these heavy-handed US tactics have led to a sharp rise in India’s oil import bill.

Indo-US interests clashed when India decided to have the Russian-made S-400 Triumf missile Defence system despite threats of US sanctions. Others in Indo-US relations are as follows:

US-Pakistan Relations: Despite Washington’s claims of de-hyphenating its ties with India and Pakistan, the US has not been able to absolve itself of the liabilities of its complicated alliance with Pakistan.

Trade Dispute The US recently removed India from its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, of which India was a major beneficiary. US imposes a duty on steel and aluminium products affecting Indian exports
India has been referred to as a “tariff king” by the US which imposes “exorbitantly high” import duties.

WTO Disputes: India is involved in WTO disputes on issues like the U.S., capping of prices of medical devices by India, greater access to the Indian market for US agricultural and dairy products etc.

IPR conflicts: India is also on the US “Priority Watch List” which identifies countries facing challenges to US intellectual property rights. Currency Manipulator Tag for India – Recently, the United States added India to its ‘watch list’ of currency manipulator countries.

Internal issues in India: Criticism from the US Congress and parts of the US civil society has been calling for the US administration to ask India to restore normalcy to Kashmir and not go ahead with the new citizenship law after the NRC. Human rights reports by the US State Department – mention that India has several human rights issues such as restrictions on freedom of expression and press, crimes involving violence and discrimination targeting members of minority groups.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended classifying India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC). It also recommended targeted sanctions on Indian individuals and entities for ‘serious violations of religious freedom’. The US carried out a Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone without taking permission from New Delhi.

The relationship between India and the US is important in shaping the world order in the 21st century. To realize the full potential of the cooperation, the two governments must work now to finalize unfinished agreements and set the course for a comprehensive strategic global partnership. For this relationship to flourish, it needs to be nurtured continuously with various diplomatic options.

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