India-USA: History of Relations
- The birth of the Indian Republic was accompanied by Pakistan’s occupation of Kashmir. Nehru’s efforts to garner support from the international community were fruitless.
- India declined the American offer to accept a seat at the United Nations Security Council and rather pushed for the membership of the People’s Republic of China which it immediately recognized as a sovereign nation.
- In the year 1950, India abstained from a US-sponsored resolution calling for the UN’s military involvement in the Korean War. India even voted against UN forces crossing the 38th Parallel and naming China as an aggressor.
- 1955: Pakistan officially aligned with the United States via the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) and Central Treaty Organization (CEATO) also known as Baghdad Pact. Meanwhile, India, being the chief proponent of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), held the first Afro-Asian Conference at Bandung, Indonesia.
- The rogue state of Pakistan became an important ally to the US in the containment of the Soviet Union, giving rise to strategic complications with India.
- In the Sino-Indian war of 1962, the US extended help to India against China’s belligerence by sending an American carrier- The Enterprise- to the Bay of Bengal. China, however, declared a unilateral ceasefire the next day. Indian leaders and the public welcomed American intervention.
- 1966: In response to India’s criticism of the US intervention in Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson restricted the supply of grain shipments to India under the Public Law 480 programme.
- 1967: A predominantly Anti-American worldview led India to reject a founding membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
- 1968: India rejected the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) proposed by the world’s leading nuclear powers.
- 1971: The USA had maintained a studious silence on Pakistan’s repressive policies in East Pakistan. The then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Delhi to make India comply to not support liberation movements in East Pakistan. Indira Gandhi’s intransigence was met with diplomatic muscle-flexing. Next month, India signed a Treaty of Friendship, Peace and Cooperation with the Soviet Union, seen as a blatant shift from India’s Non-Alignment policies. US President Richard Nixon in a retaliatory move chose to explicitly tilt American policy in favour of Pakistan and suspended $87 million worth of economic aid to India. American naval fleet USS Enterprise traversed the Bay of Bengal, issuing mild threats. India won the Bangladesh Liberation War as the Pakistani Army embarrassingly surrendered more than 90,000 troops.
- 1974: India conducted its first nuclear weapon test at Pokhran, and it came as a major jolt to the USA who made plans to upgrade its presence at Diego Garcia, a British-controlled island in the Indian ocean.
- 1975: India faced considerable domestic turmoil and entered into a state of Emergency.
- 1977: The Emergency ended and the US immediately eased restrictions it has placed on World Bank loans to India and approved direct economic assistance of $60 million.
- 1978: US President Jimmy Carter and Indian Prime Minister Desai exchanged visits to each other’s nations.
- The 1980s: Large amounts of military aid were pumped into Pakistan by the USA in order to fight a proxy against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. This created significant repercussions in the internal security of India as the Pakistani mujahedeen fighters infiltrated Kashmir as militants.
- 1988: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi made a historic visit to China which led to the normalization of relations between India and China.
- 1990: India hesitatingly provided brief logistical support for American military operations in the Gulf War.
- Post-1991: The Soviet Union disintegrated into independent nations and the United States emerged as the single largest hegemon, making the world unipolar. It coincided with India opening doors to foreign private capital in its historic Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization move.
- Trade between India and the US grew dramatically and is flourishing today.
8 principal areas of Indo–US cooperation
- Possible support for India in UNSC: Amid India’s push for UN Security Council reforms, the US has said it supports building a consensus for a “modest” expansion of the Council for both permanent and non-permanent members, provided it does not diminish its effectiveness or its efficacy and does not alter or expand the veto.
- US Entity List: removing entities from the US Entity List would certainly consolidate the relationship.
- The economic aspect of the relationship will also be crucial. $10 b worth of deals with various Indian corporations suggests that the US is looking for Indian investments which would create jobs in the US.
- India getting US support for membership in four export control regimes: what are the criteria for memberships and how do other countries react and whether the US can push Indian claim.
- Pakistan-US relations: US military aid to Pakistan would continue to be an area of irritation for India.
- Counter-terrorism: some good cooperation has happened between India and the US. But this cooperation needs to be deepened further given that the US is still reluctant to share intelligence about Pakistan with India.
- India expects the US to advocate and support a greater role for India in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s efforts to exclude India’s role in Afghanistan have been voiced by India with the US.
- Good relations with China are important for both countries and neither country wants to offend China. There continues to be a divergence between India and the US on Iran and Myanmar. Convergence will take time to develop. There is anti-US sentiment in India in some political quarters. Finally, stronger Indo-US relations may alienate other countries and allies like Russia and China
India-US Trade Relations
- There are more than 50 bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two governments.
- India-USA bilateral trade in goods and services increased from $104 billion in 2014 to $114 billion in 2016.
- Both countries have made a commitment to facilitate actions necessary for increasing the bilateral trade to $500 billion.
- In June 2016, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama pledged to explore new opportunities to break down barriers to the movement of goods and services, and support deeper integration into global supply chains, thereby creating jobs and generating prosperity in both economies.
- The U.S. is the fifth largest source of foreign direct investments in India.
- Among large Indian corporations having investments in the U.S. include Reliance Industries Limited, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, Essar America, Piramal, Mahindra, Lupin, Sun Pharma, etc.
- There are several dialogue mechanisms to strengthen bilateral engagement on economic and trade issues, including a Ministerial Level Economic and Financial Partnership and a Ministerial Trade Policy Forum. For greater involvement of the private sector in the discussions on issues involving trade and investment, there is a bilateral India-USA CEO’s Forum.
- India and the US have set up a bilateral Investment Initiative in 2014, with a special focus on facilitating FDI, portfolio investment, capital market development and financing of infrastructure.
- US firms will be lead partners in developing Allahabad, Ajmer and Vishakhapatnam as Smart Cities.
India-US Defence Cooperation
- The defence relationship has emerged as a major pillar of the India-USA strategic partnership with the signing of ‘New Framework for India-U.S. Defense Relations’ in 2005 and the resulting intensification in defence trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, collaboration and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy, and exchanges between each of the three services.
- India participated in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in July-August 2016.
- The agreements signed during the past year include:
- Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (LEMOA)
- Fuel Exchange Agreement
- Technical Agreement (TA) on information sharing on White (merchant) Shipping
- Information Exchange Annexe (IEA) on Aircraft Carrier Technologies
Pending agreements are:
- Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
- Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)
India-US: Cooperation in Energy and Climate Change
- The India-USA Energy Dialogue was launched in May 2005 to promote trade and investment in the energy sector.
- There are six working groups in oil and gas, coal, power and energy efficiency, new technologies and renewable energy, civil nuclear co-operation and sustainable development under the Energy Dialogue.
- As a priority initiative under the PACE (Partnership to Advance Clean Energy), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Government of India have established the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC) designed to promote clean energy innovations by teams of scientists from India and the United States, with a total joint committed funding from both Governments of US$ 50 million.
India-US: Cooperation in Education
India is learning from the U.S. experience in community colleges in order to meet our demands for skill development. It has been agreed to collaborate with U.S. institutions in the area of Technology Enabled Learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to extend the reach of education in India. Under the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) launched by India, up to 1000 American academics will be invited and hosted each year to teach in Indian universities at their convenience. The two sides are also collaborating to establish a new Indian Institute of Technology in Ahmedabad.
India-US: People-to-People Contacts
The 3.5-million-plus-strong Indian-American community is an important ethnic group in the U.S., accounting for about 1% of the total population in the country. Indian American community includes a large number of professionals, business entrepreneurs and educationalists with increasing influence in society. The two countries have been working together to facilitate the travel of their respective citizens, and to this end, an MOU has been signed in June 2016 to facilitate India’s joining of the Global Entry Programme for expedited immigration for eligible Indian citizens at U.S. airports.
It appears highly likely that in strategic, political, security, defence and economic terms, relations between India and the USA will continue their upward trajectory under President Trump. The impact of the USA’s relations with Pakistan over India is likely to be beneficial and positive. Geopolitical manoeuvres can have a significant impact on India-USA relations, however, it would remain to be multi-faceted and an “indispensable partnership”
The outcome of the Recent 2+2 Dialogue
- The dialogue saw the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on space situational awareness as the two nations seek to deepen cooperation in outer space and cyberspace to develop capabilities in both “war-fighting domains”.
- They also agreed to launch an inaugural Defence Artificial Intelligence Dialogue, while expanding joint cyber training and exercises.
- The defence partnership between India and the US continues to grow rapidly with the US secretary of defence underlining that the two nations have “identified new opportunities to extend the operational reach of our militaries and to coordinate more closely together across the expanse of the Indo-Pacific.”
- The US also pointedly mentioned that China was constructing “dual-use infrastructure” along the border with India and that it would “continue to stand alongside” India to defend its sovereign interest.