After a period of distrust and non confidence, the India-United States relation is slowly transforming into cooperation and alliances in almost all fields. The recent surge in the bilateral relationship attracts due attention of political and economic observers round the globe. And also the latest presidential election has laid seeds of many deliberations and speculations.
In March 2000, the five-day visit of Bill Clinton attempted to shake the dormancy in the bilateral relationship. Clinton regarded this first U.S. presidential trip to India since 1978 as “strengthening a friendship that, indeed, is critical to the future of the entire planet”. The United States and India signed the New Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship that set priorities for defense cooperation in maritime security, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and counter-terrorism in long-term. The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum was also established during the visit.
The beginning of this new era of friendship was clearly demarcated by the visit of George W. Bush in March 2006. Bush and the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh finalized the framework of the civil nuclear deal and made a joint statement to boost security and economic ties. Further, the July 2009 joint statement by then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Government of India highlighted the areas that the two countries would focus on. The bilateral relationship derived a new direction and immense confidence from these developments since the framework agreement of the Indo-U.S. Civil Nuclear Deal.
Barack Obama continued the diplomacy initiated by Bush. The United States and India formally convened the first U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue from June 1st to 4th, 2010. A large, high-ranking delegation of Indian officials visited Washington, DC, and Secretary Clinton lauded India as “an indispensable partner.” President Obama stated the relationship will be a defining partnership in the twenty-first century.
A row arose between the two nations in 2013 over the concerns of diplomatic immunity and privileges. Even then, there was a steep rise in U.S.-India defence trade from 0.2% in 1999 to 7.4% in 2013. Ever since the regime change in India in 2014, the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been treading fast, intensively pursuing the bilateral relationship further.
India-U.S. defence trade was about $ 12 billion last year and now it has reached $ 14 billion. As per reports, in 2011-15, 14% of India’s arms imports were supplied by the U.S., overtaking Russia as the top supplier of arms. The U.S. imports are 11 times higher in 2011-15 as compared to 2006-10 (SIPRI, U.S. Indo Business Council). The Defence Framework Agreement of 2005 was renewed for ten years in 2015 which is debated to have long-term impacts upon the partnership. The U.S. has recently named India as a “major defence partner”.
The U.S. direct investment in India amounts to $28 billion which is 6% of the total FDI in India. On the other hand, Indian investment in U.S. has risen to $17 billion. The Economic and Financial Partnership Initiative is to be deliberated in this context.
Moreover, the export rate from India to U.S. is comparatively low, to be graded an 18th position. India’s participation in mega-regional FTAs like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), Market access issues, taxation and regulations, IPRs etc. are to be debated.
“Here’s to another four years of robust U.S.-India Dosti”: This is how the U.S. ambassador to India chose to describe the future of Indo-U.S. relationship in the occasion of Donald Trump recently ascending the American Presidential chair. The victory of this Republican candidate raises multiple questions on foreign policy and economic relations rather than putting forth straight predictions. Trump’s positions on multilateral-bilateral treaties, H-1B visas and immigration, approach to Pakistan and China, etc. will surely reverberate in the fields of co operation.
There are opportunities for further association in the fields ranging from economics to energy, climate change to governance, counter terrorism, defence, development, health, higher education, space and trade. Areas of discussion are numerous under the title of Indo-U.S. relations. The present atmosphere of amiability between the countries is conducive to greater prospects in the relationship while its political and economic implications are to be brought under critical analysis.
In the present backdrop, CED&L is going to conduct a panel discussion on India-U.S. relationship focalising in the area of trade and development.
M.K. BHADRAKUMAR, IFS
M.K.Bhadrakumar served in the Indian Foreign Service for three decades and served as ambassador to Uzbekistan and Turkey. Apart from two postings in the former Soviet Union, his assignments abroad included South Korea, Sri Lanka, West Germany, Kuwait, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He served thrice in the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan Division in the Ministry of External Affairs, including as the Head of the Division in 1992-95. Mr. Bhadrakumar sought voluntary retirement from the IFS in 2002 and has since devoted himself to writing. He contributes to various publications in India and abroad and is a regular columnist for Asia Times and The Hindu. He has written extensively on Russia, China, Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and on the geopolitics of energy security.
Dr. ANIL KUMAR P.
Dr. Anil Kumar P. is currently Assistant Professor in the Research and Post Graduate Department of Political Science, University College, Thiruvananthapuram, where he teaches International Relations and Comparative Politics to both Post graduate and graduate students. He received his M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Political Science, University of Kerala. His areas of interest are U.S., China, and South Asian security. He is also interested in state politics and psephological studies. In 2012 he is the only one selected from India for the Study of United States Institute for Scholars Programme of the US State Department. He completed the programme from University of Florida, USA during June-July 2012 and visited Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chicago University etc. He is also an executive member of the American Studies Network, Kerala chapter. Dr. Anil is the recipient of the TV Paul Award in 2011 for best Ph.D. thesis in International Relations/Political Science, and was a research affiliate in the Institute of Chinese Studies in the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. He was also a supervisor of the election studies conducted by CNN-IBN, The Hindu, and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. He is also trained in Survey Research through CSDS, New Delhi. He is an expert on International Affairs in South Asia and a regular commentator in Asianet News, Manorma News, India Vision etc. His publications include a number of research articles dealing with international relations in journals such as Journal of Polity and Society and Journal of Parliamentary Studies. In 2011, he has published the research article titled “Executive Accountability to Legislature in Foreign Policy Making: the Case of India and USA” in the Journal of Parliamentary Studies.
Dr. UMA PURUSHOTHAMAN
Dr. Uma Purushothaman is Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations and Politics, Central University of Kerala, Kasargod. Earlier a Research Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, and an alumnus of JNU, she has worked with the United Services Institution of India (USI) and SAGE Publications. Her areas of interest include US foreign and domestic policies, great power politics, human security, food security, foreign aid and soft power. She has published articles and book reviews in national and international journals, including the International Journal of Nuclear Law, Millennium Journal of International Studies, Strategic Analysis, International Studies, Global Policy Journal, Russia in Global Affairs and the Journal of Peace Studies and has contributed chapters in edited books. She has co-authored the book titled Trends in Russia-China Relations: Implications for India and edited the book titled Globalisation and Identity: Perspectives from India and Russia. She has written in national and international newspapers like the Asian Age, the Pioneer, the Global Times and Albany Tribune as well as popular websites like www.eurasiareview.com, http://russiancouncil.ru, http://www.e-ir.info, www.indiawrites.org and www.irgamag.com on issues of topical importance. She has been interviewed and quoted by national and international television channels, radio stations and newspapers. Dr. Uma has travelled widely on national and international conferences as well as field trips to countries like China, Russia, Canada, Belgium, Kazakhstan and the US. She is also an alumnus of the prestigious ‘Georgetown Leadership Summit’ and the ‘Young Leaders’ Forum for Emerging Leaders from the Asia Pacific Region’.