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US-India Relations: Navigating Opportunities and Challenges

by Dr. Subhan T. Jadhav - 20 May, 2024, 12:00 472 Views 0 Comment

Introduction

After the Cold War US-India relations always give new messages to the world at present diplomatic, Military, and Strategic relations are the changing scenario of a world perspective in the Indian context. The US is India’s most comprehensive strategic partner, and cooperation between the two extends across multiple areas such as trade, defence, multilateralism, intelligence, cyberspace, civil nuclear energy, education, and healthcare. When we focus on the Indo-Pacific region both nations are developing a strategic partnership. The relationship between the US and India brings out the military and economic aspects of world politics. This article navigates opportunities and challenges.

US-India Outlook

When looking at US-India relations from three perspectives, a comprehensive global strategic partnership covering almost all areas of human endeavour, driven by shared democratic values, convergence of interests on a range of issues, and vibrant people-to-people contacts. although this analysis of the opportunities and challenges for bilateral relations go to the political and diplomatic perspective, most important of economic development and strategic partnership. there are more than 50 bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two governments. both countries’ bilateral trade in goods and services continued to rise and has likely surpassed $200 billion in the calendar year 2023. Trade often reflects future base investment opponents negatively influencing perspectives and swaying moral views via military ties.

In 2005, bilateral defence cooperation has intensified with growing defence trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, collaboration and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy, and exchanges between each of the three services. On July 18, 2005, announced the launch of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative. The two leaders announced a broad slate of initiatives as part of the new commitment to a comprehensive bilateral relationship. The civil nuclear cooperation agreement was finalized in July 2007 and signed in October 2008. Even launched a Ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue, co-chaired by the External Affairs Minister and the U.S. Secretary of State in July 2009 which focuses on Strategic Cooperation. On June 7, 2016, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the recognition of India as a Major Defence Partner (MDP) of the U.S. This status has subsequently been codified in law. US and India defence trade cooperation continues to expand with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed in 2016, and the Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018, even In November 2019, the United States and India conducted Tiger Triumph, the first-ever tri-service (ground, naval, and air forces) exercise between the two countries. The Industrial Security Agreement (ISA) was signed in December 2019, and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) was signed between the governments of India and the United States on October 27, 2020, the fourth agreement is about exchanging geospatial information between the two nations, this bilateral relation is multidimensional. According to President Biden the U.S. and India relationship is “the defining partnership of the 21st century.”  Prime Minister Modi has said our countries’ ties are “shaping lives, dreams, and destinies.”

Opportunity and Challenges

Recently, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh discussed with his American counterpart Lloyd Austin ways and means to implement the ambitious India-US defence cooperation roadmap that seeks to significantly elevate strategic ties between the two countries. US defence secretary appreciated the important role being played by the Indian Navy in conducting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean Region. This supports India’s significant role in the Indo-Pacific and Maritime security. When we focus on bilateral relations and the future right set of circumstances and national interest, before long time we highlight our vision and perspective as to why we are here. US-India relation at present reflects security and strategic prospects The world political scenario and the present uncertainty are shaping the new dynamics of regionalism politics and alliances, both directly and indirectly impacting bilateral relations and their associated opportunities and challenges.

Strategic Opportunity and Challenges

This relationship is strategically important for India in geopolitics, military strategic and security cooperation, economic development, and maritime connectivity. It represents one of the most strategically significant interests for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Security Council of the United Nations. Additionally, defence and strategic cooperation create new opportunities for bilateral relations but also pose challenges in managing long-standing relationships with countries like Russia.

Economic Opportunity and Challenges

The USA is the third-largest investor in India, with U.S. goods and services trade with India totalling an estimated $191.8 billion in 2022. The table below shows a summary of trade and investment, highlighting the economic opportunities for India and its emerging policies.

The USA INDIA
Goods exports to India in 2022 were $47.2 billion, up 17.9 percent ($7.2 billion) from 2021 and up 113 percent from 2012. Goods exports to the U.S. totalled $85.5 billion in 2022, up 16.7 percent ($12.2 billion) from 2021, and up 111 percent from 2012.
Exports of services to India were estimated at $25.9 billion in 2022, 40.0 percent ($7.4 billion) more than 2021 and 131 percent greater than 2012 levels. Exports of services to the U.S. were estimated at $33.2 billion in 2022, 14.6 percent ($4.2 billion) more than 2021, and 77 percent greater than 2012 levels.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India (stock) was $51.6 billion in 2022, a 15.1 percent increase from 2021, led by professional, scientific, and technical services, manufacturing, and information services. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States (stock) was $3.7 billion in 2022, up 7.0 percent from 2021, led by professional, scientific, and technical services, manufacturing, and depository institutions.

 

Another, since 2022, three ships from the US Maritime Sealift Command have visited Indian shipyards for repairs and allied services under commercial contracts. The US Navy ships have been accompanied by troops from the US Marine Corps and US Army. Last month, on March 18, 2024, Austin highlighted the cutting-edge defence innovations driven by the partnership between the US Department of Defence’s Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Ministry of Defence’s Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX). The two ministers discussed ways and means to implement the India-US Defence Cooperation Roadmap, which was concluded last year. Other defence industrial cooperation issues, such as the repair of US naval ships in Indian shipyards, were also briefly discussed. According to Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh,

Emerging Technology

Technology cooperation has been growing in strength in recent years. President Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced the U.S. and India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) in May 2022, aiming to elevate and expand our strategic technology partnership and Defence industrial cooperation between governments, businesses, and academic institutions. Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) systems: both are Joint Task Force to develop and deploy ORAN systems. This public-private research initiative will be jointly led by India’s Bharat 6G and the US Next G Alliance. Additionally, this effort will likely align with similar initiatives from Japan, the United Kingdom (UK), and Australia. Sameer Patil writes that this augurs well and fixes the major lacuna afflicting the bilateral relationship. However, the significance of this collaboration goes well beyond Indian investment in the US tech ecosystem.

  • Quantum Computing: Both countries have agreed to establish a joint Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism to facilitate collaborative research between the public and private sectors. India is already engaged with Entanglement Exchange and the US Quantum Economic Development Consortium, enabling multinational exchanges on quantum computing. Quantum technology has far-reaching implications for encryption, cryptography, aerospace engineering, sensors, modelling, simulation, etc.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Both countries signed an implementing arrangement to support further joint research on quantum, AI, and advanced wireless technologies.

Conclusion

The evolving relationship between India and the United States plays a significant role in shaping the global order of the 21st century. To harness the full potential of this partnership, both governments must focus on defence, economic, and strategic multilateral relations on all fronts. The present world scenario favours the development of US-India relations indefinitely. I hope India is also ready to accept all kinds of opportunities along with challenges.

Dr. Subhan T. Jadhav
Author is Assistant Professor, Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune
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