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Important Period for India-U.S. Relations

Context

  • After a two-year wait, the United States finally named Eric Garcetti as its next Ambassador to India.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the United States in June, and US Vice President Joe Biden is expected to visit India later this year for the G20 summit.
    • The two countries will also be more involved in forums such as the G20, Quad, and I2U2.As a result, the next six months will be critical for India-US relations.

Relevance:

GS Paper-2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and affecting India’s interests; India-US relation

Mains Question

“The structural factors outweigh diplomatic incentives to pursue long-term cooperation, despite the USA and India having a mindset of cooperation.” Analyze the claim critically and make recommendations for how to deal with these issues. (250 Words).


Highlights

  • The presence of Mr. Garcetti in Delhi, who is known to be a close confidante of Mr. Biden, is a sign of things to come.
  • While his appointment indicates the possibility of greater collaboration, there are also disagreements to be resolved in the US-India relationship.

The area of divergence

  • The US may want India to change its stance on the Ukraine crisis, whereas India may want the US to take a stronger stance against China.
  • While India would seek greater partnership with the US, it would also be hesitant to sever its stable relations with Russia.
    • Moscow has just released its foreign policy strategy, which names China and India as its primary allies.
    • India is also the president of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a forum that includes China and Russia, until September. o Meanwhile, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s overtures to India will be closely monitored as it seeks greater participation from Delhi.

Area of Convergence

  • Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET): o It is expected to expand strategic technology partnerships and defence industrial cooperation between the two countries’ governments, businesses, and academic institutions.
  • Indo-Pacific Partnership: o It aims to promote regional security and economic growth, increase trade and investment, and improve connectivity. o It is based on a shared vision of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region that respects all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • The collaboration includes a variety of initiatives, such as joint military exercises, information sharing on security issues, and collaboration on economic and infrastructure development projects.
  • Cooperation is also required in areas such as counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and maritime security.
  • Countering China’s growing influence: o The United States and India are both concerned about China’s aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, its expanding military presence in the region, and its efforts to establish economic dominance through the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Diversifying Supply Chains: o Due to geopolitical tensions, trade disputes, and concerns about over-reliance on a single country, there has been an increase in interest in diversifying supply chains away from China in recent years.
    • India’s expanding consumer market makes it an appealing destination for American companies looking to expand their customer base.
  • India has a relatively low-cost labour force and an abundance of skilled workers in sectors such as IT, engineering, and manufacturing. o The government has also implemented policies aimed at attracting foreign investment and promoting economic growth.
  • However, India’s infrastructure, logistics, and regulatory systems are not as developed as those in China.
  • India has a complicated legal and bureaucratic system as well.
    • To address these challenges, the United States and India have taken steps to strengthen economic ties and facilitate investment.
  • The US-India Strategic Energy Partnership, for example, aims to strengthen cooperation in areas such as energy security and access, as well as climate change.

The Lows and Highs of relations

  • The nuclear deal, market liberalization, and the outsourcing of Indian techies to U.S. companies are a few key moments in the relationship.
  • Indian Americans are among the most prosperous immigrants in the United States.
    • To regain its global position, India requires the knowledge, skill, and investment of its diaspora.
  • The US-aided Green Revolution transformed India from a food-shortage economy to one with surplus food.
  • The US has also played an important role in transforming India into an IT superpower.
  • The United States and India are also partners in the fight against climate change.
    • This includes a variety of initiatives such as renewable energy promotion, joint research and development projects, and investment in renewable energy infrastructure.
  • The two countries also agree on the importance of space technology.

Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET)

  • The iCET is a collaboration between India and the United States to develop important and new technologies.The iCET involves collaboration in a range of areas including quantum computing, semiconductors, 5G and 6G wireless infrastructure, and civilian space projects such as lunar exploration.
  • The iCET process will be monitored and driven from the PMO in Delhi and the White House in Washington.

Way Forward:

  • In the past, there was a trust deficit between India and the U.S.
    • Indians feel that the U.S. has not always lent support to it and has instead pivoted to supporting Pakistan.
  •  Moreover, the American pull-out from Afghanistan does not inspire confidence in the U.S. as a trusted partner.
    • On the other side, the U.S. has been flagging issues related to terrorism, human rights and democracy in India.
  • But now it is hoped that trust between the two nations will be enhanced in the coming months.
    • By building on their strategic partnership, the two countries can gradually strengthen their ties.
  • The iCET will boost India’s technological capabilities with access to cutting-edge technology and expertise in areas that are critical and emerging in nature.
    • Working together on new and important technologies can lead to more business between India and the US, which can help the economy grow as it will bring more investment and employment opportunities for both countries.

Conclusion:

Therefore, this is the right time to take the relationship forward constructively and make it reach its potential as well as look for positive areas of collaboration.


February 2024
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