Indo-US Major Strategic Partnership
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TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.
The outgoing defence secretary of India termed India and US as close partners. He also acknowledged the fact that India and US share many bonding threads — India being a rising military power and also sharing democratic multilateralism. Thus, India and US are destined to be strategic partners in future.
Despite Obama administration leaving office in a month, it made sure that ties with India remained strong as change of administration should not affect the ongoing partnership.
- During 1991 when USSR disintegrated, India was provided an opportunity to expand its relations with the west.
- In 2000 during the Clinton visit or signing of Indo-US civil nuclear deal in 2005, the Indo-US relations have been on growth trajectory. The Obama administration even acknowledged India-US relations as defining partnership of 21st
- There is a bipartisan consensus on positive and diversified relationship with India in US. Whether republican or democratic government, the relationship has been ever increasing.
- Similar case is observed with India’s political approach where any government comes to power, in last two decades, friendship with US has been maintained.
- Thus there is inherent logic of stronger India-US relationship irrespective of any party in power in field of defence, trade, investments, strategic cooperation etc.
Recently there was agreement in the Congress to implement the decision to designate India as trusted and favoured defence partner. The meaning of the new status is that US has accorded same importance to India as it is there for NATO members and its allies.
Relationship with new administration
There have been incessant speculation about President Trump and his policy approaches. It has to be understood that election campaigns are never policy directives. Hence, not much should be taken at face value.
With trump administration, there is uncertainty as the President has been a businessman and has not held any position in government.
For India, one negative repercussion could be changes in H1-B visa rule which pertains to Indian IT industry. However, no drastic policy changes are expected as American businesses themselves will suffer. The competitiveness of US industry depends on presence of Indian companies and professionals.
But, Trump’s policy approach towards China, Pakistan, Russia, TPP agreement, Pivot to Asia has to be closely monitored.
Future of the relation
Many initiatives are being taken between two countries on diverse issues. Number of groups are working on defence and technical collaborations. One of it is Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). This shows that India and US no longer share the transactional buyer-seller relation. But now it has upgraded to have an element of manufacturing of components in India which includes manufacturing of jet engines, part manufacturing of guns, buying of helicopters etc.
India has highest number of military exercise with US- in water, on sea, in air, on mountainous and dessert terrains etc. In addition to it, there have been attempts to make the relationship trilateral with having joint exercise like Malabar (India-US-Japan) and also with Australia.
From 2005 where there was no exchange between two countries, today US is second largest supplier of defence equipment to India amounting to USD 15 billion.
With vision statements such as ‘Chalein Sath Sath- forward together we go’ and ‘Sanjha Prayas, Sab Ka Vikas’ India and US are galloping towards a stronger partnership in the world today.
Connecting the dots:
- India and US share a strong defence relationship in the changing global order. Critically analyse.