General Studies Paper 2

Context: The next six months are going to be crucial for India-U.S. ties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to head to the U.S. in June, and U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to visit India for the G20 summit later this year.

What are the areas of divergence between India and the US?

  • The U.S. wants India to change its stance on the Ukraine crisis. India wants a stronger position by the US against China.
  • India is reluctant to sever its stable relations with Russia. Moscow has just released its foreign policy strategy in which it has identified China and India as its main allies.
  • India is also the president of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a forum that includes China and Russia. On the other hand, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization wants greater participation from Delhi.

What are the areas of convergence between India and the US?

  • The India-U.S. Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology is expected to expand strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.
  • The Indo-Pacific partnership is aimed at promoting security and economic growth, increasing trade and investment, and enhancing connectivity in the region.
  • The partnership is based on the shared vision of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region that is respectful of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.
  • The partnership involves a range of initiatives. It includes joint military exercises, information-sharing on security issues, and collaboration on economic and infrastructure development projects. It also involves cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and maritime security.
  • One of the key objectives of the Indo-Pacific partnership is to counter the growing influence of China in the region. Both countries share concerns about China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea, its expanding military presence in the region, and its Belt and Road Initiative.
  • In recent years, there has been growing interest in diversifying supply chains away from China. The reasons are geopolitical tensions, trade disputes, and concerns about over-reliance on a single country.
  • India’s growing consumer market makes it an attractive destination for U.S. businesses. India has a relatively low-cost labour force and an abundance of skilled workers. The government has also implemented policies aimed at attracting foreign investment and promoting economic growth.
  • The U.S. and Indian governments have taken steps to promote closer economic ties and facilitate investment. For example, the S.-India Strategic Energy Partnership, aims to enhance cooperation in areas such as energy security and access, and climate change.

How has the India-U.S. relationship seen ups and downs over time?

  • Ups – The nuclear deal, liberalisation of markets, and the outsourcing of Indian techies for U.S. companies are a few key moments of the relationship.
  • Indian Americans are among the most successful immigrants in the U.S. India needs the knowledge, skill and investment of the diaspora to regain its global position.
  • The Green Revolution had transformed India from a shortage economy to one with surplus food with help from the US. The U.S. has also played an important role in making India an IT superpower. Many persons of Indian origin are working in Silicon Valley companies.
  • The U.S. and India are also partners in combating climate change. This involves a wide range of initiatives. It includes promoting renewable energy, joint research and development projects, and investment in renewable energy infrastructure. The two countries are also aligned on the importance of space technology.
  • Downs – In the past, there was a trust deficit between India and the U.S. India feels that the U.S. has not given support to it and has instead provided support to Pakistan.
  • The American pull-out from Afghanistan does not inspire confidence in the U.S. as a trusted partner. The U.S. has been flagging issues related to terrorism, human rights and democracy in India.


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