- 5th Edition of the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue
- India-Ethiopia Joint Trade Committee
Recently, 5th Edition of the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue took place, where both countries highlighted progress in various areas of bilateral cooperation including defense, semiconductors, emerging technology, space, health etc.
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- Understanding 2+2 Meetings: A Diplomatic Framework
- Key Highlights of the India-US 2+2 Dialogue
- India-U.S. Relations
- Major Challenges in India-U.S. Relations
Understanding 2+2 Meetings: A Diplomatic Framework
- Involves two high-level representatives, namely Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs and Defence, from each participating country.
- Aims to elevate the depth and breadth of dialogue between the nations.
Enhanced Communication and Understanding:
- Establishes a mechanism for better comprehension and appreciation of each other’s strategic concerns and sensitivities.
- Takes into consideration political factors on both sides to foster a more integrated and robust strategic relationship.
Adapting to Global Changes:
- Facilitates engagement in the context of a rapidly changing global environment.
- Offers a platform for addressing evolving geopolitical dynamics and challenges.
India’s 2+2 Partners:
- United States:
- Holds the distinction of being India’s oldest and most significant 2+2 talks partner.
- Other Nations:
- Engaged in 2+2 meetings with ministers from Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Russia.
- Diverse Dialogues:
- Covers a spectrum of strategic aspects, promoting a comprehensive understanding between nations.
Key Highlights of the India-US 2+2 Dialogue
Collaborative Defence Systems Development
- Both nations aim to co-develop and co-produce defense systems.
- Strengthening the partnership in defense technologies is a shared objective.
Defense Deals in Progress
- Ongoing negotiations for the purchase of MQ-9B unmanned aerial vehicles.
- Discussions about licensed manufacturing of General Electric’s F-414 jet engine in India.
Advancing India’s Defence Capabilities
- Deals align with India’s goal to enhance its defense capabilities.
Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA)
- Ministers anticipate finalizing SOSA to integrate defense industrial ecosystems and enhance supply chain resilience.
Cooperation in Infantry Combat Vehicles
- Discussions on Stryker and infantry combat vehicles in defense industry cooperation roadmap.
- Formalizing cooperation contingent on finalizing Indian military needs and establishing a production plan.
Progress of INDUS-X
- Review of the progress made in the India-U.S. Defence Industrial Ecosystem, INDUS-X.
- Aimed at expanding strategic technology partnerships and defense industrial cooperation.
Commitment to Maritime Security
- India’s full membership in Combined Maritime Forces welcomed.
- Signifying India’s commitment to regional maritime security.
Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Focus
- Both nations emphasize the importance of safeguarding sea lanes and promoting stability.
India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET)
- Recognition of rapid progress under iCET for technology collaborations.
- Call for continued strategic partnerships in quantum, telecom, biotechnology, AI, and semiconductors.
Strategic Trade Dialogue Monitoring Mechanism
- Welcome for the early meeting of the Strategic Trade Dialogue Monitoring Mechanism.
Beyond China Challenges
- Emphasis on the bilateral relationship extending beyond addressing challenges posed by China.
India’s Stance on Israel-Hamas Conflict
- Advocacy for a two-state solution in the Israel-Hamas Conflict.
- Humanitarian assistance provided with adherence to international humanitarian law and condemnation of civilian casualties.
Shared Values and Commitments
- Foundation of the U.S.-India strategic partnership lies in shared values, including a commitment to democracy and the rules-based international system.
- Mutual interests in promoting global security, stability, and economic prosperity through trade, investment, and connectivity.
Economic Ties and Trade Growth
- In 2022-23, the U.S. emerged as India’s largest trading partner.
- Bilateral trade increased by 7.65% to USD 128.55 billion in 2022-23.
- Exports to the U.S. rose by 2.81%, reaching USD 78.31 billion, while imports grew by about 16% to USD 50.24 billion.
- Close cooperation at various multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, G-20, ASEAN Regional Forum, IMF, World Bank, and WTO.
- Support for India’s two-year term at the UN Security Council and backing a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.
- The Quad, comprising the U.S., India, Australia, and Japan, promotes a free and open Indo-Pacific and provides tangible benefits to the region.
- Participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) with the United States.
Other Regional Collaborations
- India’s membership in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) with the U.S. as a dialogue partner.
- U.S. joining the International Solar Alliance headquartered in India in 2021 and collaboration with USAID in 2022.
India has signed all four foundational agreements with the U.S.
- Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016.
- Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018.
- Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA) in 2020.
Major Challenges in India-U.S. Relations
Historical Differences in Foreign Policy Approach
- Nonalignment vs. Alliances: India’s historical nonalignment contrasts with the U.S.’ alliance-centric foreign policy since World War II.
Cold War Era Nonalignment Concerns
- Cold War Nonalignment: During the Cold War, India’s nonalignment policy raised concerns for the U.S.
- Lack of Military Support: Indian military vetoed dispatching troops to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.
- Withheld Support for Iraq Invasion: India’s PM withheld military support during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Current Policy Divergences
- Russian-Ukraine War: India’s refusal to align with the U.S. on the Russian-Ukraine war.
- Import of Russian Oil: India’s significant import of cheap Russian oil, despite U.S. concerns.
Divergent Stances on Global Issues
- Oil Blockades: Criticism of the U.S. decision to block Iranian and Venezuelan oil.
- SCO Involvement: India’s active efforts to bring Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
- Border Talks with China: India’s continued participation in talks with China to resolve border disputes.
U.S. Reports Questioning Indian Democratic Practices
- Democracy and Human Rights Concerns: Reports by U.S. organizations question democratic discourse, press freedom, religious freedom, and minority conditions in India.
Economic Protectionism and Trade Disputes
- Atmanirbhar Bharat Campaign: U.S. perception of India becoming a protectionist closed market economy.
- GSP Program Withdrawal: U.S. withdrawal of duty-free benefits affecting Indian exporters in sectors like pharma, textiles, agri products, and automotive parts.
Calls for Alignment with U.S. Interests
- Pro-U.S. Voices: Voices calling for India to align with the U.S. and “get on the right side of history.”
The 6th Session of the India-Ethiopia Joint Trade Committee (JTC) recently concluded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, bringing together officials from both countries to strengthen economic ties.
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- India-Ethiopia Joint Technical Committee (JTC) Meeting Highlights
- India-Ethiopia Trade Relations
India-Ethiopia Joint Technical Committee (JTC) Meeting Highlights
Bilateral Collaboration on Payment Infrastructure
- Unified Payment Interface (UPI): India invited Ethiopia to collaborate on integrating UPI with Ethiopia’s Ethswitch.
- Ethswitch Platform: Ethswitch serves as a payment platform infrastructure in Ethiopia.
Local Currency Trade Transactions
- Currency Conservation: India urged Ethiopia to explore settling trade transactions in the local currency for mutual benefit.
- Enhanced Bilateral Trade: Aim to enhance bilateral trade and conserve foreign exchange reserves.
Key Sectors for Mutual Investments
- Diverse Investment Areas: Health and pharmaceuticals, automobiles, textiles, infrastructure projects, food, and agro-processing identified as key sectors for mutual investments.
- Diversification of Collaboration: Reflects a broad spectrum of collaborative opportunities.
Progress in Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs)
- Standardization and Quality Assurance: Ongoing discussions for MoUs in the field of standardization and quality assurance.
- Customs Procedure: Ongoing discussions for MoUs in the field of customs procedure.
- Commitment to Conclude Expeditiously: Both sides agreed to conclude these MoUs expeditiously.
India-Ethiopia Trade Relations
Concessional Credit and Investment
- Concessional Credit: India is a major source of long-term concessional credit to Ethiopia, exceeding USD 1 billion. The credit supports sectors like rural electrification, sugar industry, and railways.
- Foreign Investment: Indian companies rank among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia, with existing investments totaling USD 5 billion.
Bilateral Trade Figures
- Bilateral Trade Volume: Bilateral trade between India and Ethiopia reached USD 642.59 million in the fiscal year 2022-23.
- Indian Export Dominance: India holds the position of the second-largest exporter to Ethiopia.
Economic Growth and Cooperation
- Ethiopian Economic Growth: Ethiopia’s economy experienced an estimated 6.4% growth in the fiscal year 2021-22.
- Key Sectors of Cooperation: Trade relations encompass sectors such as rural electrification, sugar industry, railways, and other areas of mutual interest.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
- Indian FDI Presence: Indian companies’ substantial FDI presence in Ethiopia underscores the depth of economic engagement.
High-Level Diplomatic Exchanges
- Diplomatic Visits: India and Ethiopia have witnessed several high-level visits, including those by presidents, prime ministers, and ministers.
- Bilateral Engagement: The visits indicate a commitment to strengthen bilateral ties and explore new avenues for cooperation.