US-India Relations

The relationships between India in the days of the BritishRaj and the US were thin. SwamiVivekananda promoted Yoga and Vedanta inAmerica at the World’s Parliament of Religions inChicago, during the World’s Fair in 1893. Mark Twain visitedIndia in 1896 and described it in his travelogue Following the Equator with bothrevulsion and attraction before concluding that India was the only foreign landhe dreamed about or longed to see again.

 Regarding India, Americans learnedmore from English writer RudyardKipling. Mahatma Gandhi had an important influence onthe philosophy of non-violence promoted by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950s.In the 1930s and early 1940s the United States gave verystrong support to the Indian independence movement in defiance of the BritishEmpire.

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 The first significant immigration from India before 1965 involvedSikh farmers going to California in the early 20th century.After Indian independence anduntil the end of the Cold War, the relationship between the US and India was cold andoften thorny. This was due to the closeness of the US towards India’sarch-rival Pakistan during the War, with Pakistan joining the US-led Western Bloc in 1954. India’s policy of being not aligned witheither the US or the Soviet Union, but maintaining close ties with the latter, also impactedrelations. American officials perceived India’s policy of non-alignmentnegatively. Ambassador Henry F. Grady told then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the United States did not consider neutrality tobe an acceptable position.

Grady told the State Department in December 1947that he had informed Nehru “that this is a question that cannot bestraddled and that India should get on the democratic side immediately.During the tenure ofthe George W.Bush administration, relationsbetween India and the United States were seen to have blossomed, primarily overcommon concerns regarding growing Islamic extremism, energy security, and climate change. George W. Bush commented,”India is a great example of democracy. It is very devout, has diversereligious heads, but everyone is comfortable about their religion. The worldneeds India”.

 Fareed Zakaria,in his book ThePost-American World, describedGeorge W. Bush as “being the most pro-Indian president in Americanhistory. At present, India and the US share an extensive and expandingcultural, strategic, military, and economic relationship which is in the phaseof implementing confidence buildingmeasures (CBM) to overcome the legacy of trust deficit -brought about by adversarial US foreign policies  and multipleinstances of technology denial – which have plagued the relationship overseveral decades. Unrealistic expectations after the conclusion of the2008 U.S.

–India Civil Nuclear Agreement(whichunderestimated negative public opinion regarding the long-term viability ofnuclear power generation and civil-society endorsement for contractualguarantees on safeguards and liability) has given way to pragmatic realism andrefocus on areas of cooperation which enjoy favourable political and electoralconsensus.Key recent developments include the rapid growth ofIndia’s economy, closer ties between the Indian and American industriesespecially in the Information and communications technology (ICT), engineeringand medical sectors, an informal entente to manage anincreasingly assertive China, robust cooperation on counter-terrorism, thedeterioration of U.S.-Pakistan relations, easing of exportcontrols over dual-use goods & technologies (99% of licenses applied forare now approved), and reversal of long-standing American opposition toIndia’s strategic program.   MILITARYThe U.S.

has four”foundational” agreements that it signs with its defence partners.The Pentagon describes the agreements as “routine instruments that theU.S. uses to promote military cooperation with partner-nations”. Americanofficials have stated that the agreements are not prerequisites for bilateraldefence co-operation, but would make it simpler and more cost-effective tocarry out activities such as refueling aircraft or ships in each other’scountries and providing disaster relief.

 The first of the four agreements,the General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), was signed byIndia and the U.S. in 2002. The agreement enables the sharing of militaryintelligence between the two countries and requires each country to protect theothers’ classified information. The second agreement, the Logistics Exchange Memorandumof Agreement (LEMOA), was signed by the two countries on 29 August 2016. TheLEMOA permits the military of either country to use the others’ bases forre-supplying or carrying out repairs. The agreement does not make the provisionof logistical support binding on either country, and requires individualclearance for each request. ECONOMICThe United States isone of India’s largest direct investors.

From 1991 to 2004, the stock of FDIinflow has increased from USD $11.3 million to $344.4 million, and totaling$4.13 billion. This is a compound rate increase of 57.5 percent annually.Indian direct investments abroad began in 1992, and Indian corporations andregistered partnership firms are now allowed to invest in businesses up to 100percent of their net worth. India’s largest outgoing investments are in themanufacturing sector, which accounts for 54.

8 percent of the country’s foreigninvestments. The second largest are in non-financial services (softwaredevelopment), accounting for 35.4 percent of investments. Counter-terrorism and internal security:  Cooperation in counter-terrorism has seen considerableprogress with intelligence sharing, information exchange, operationalcooperation, counter-terrorism technology and equipment.

India-U.S. Counter-TerrorismCooperation Initiative was signed in 2010 to expand collaboration oncounter-terrorism, information sharing and capacity building. A HomelandSecurity Dialogue was announced during President Obama’s visit to India inNovember 2010 to further deepen operational cooperation, counter-terrorismtechnology transfers and capacity building.

Two rounds of this Dialogue havebeen held, in May 2011 and May 2013, with six Sub-Groups steering cooperationin specific areas. In December 2013, India-U.S Police Chief Conference onhomeland security was organized in New Delhi. Police Commissioners from India’stop four metropolis paid a study visit to the U.S.

to learn the practices ofmegacities policing in the U.S. in November 2015.

The two sides have agreed ona joint work plan to counter the threat of Improvised Explosives Device (IED).In order to further enhance the counter terrorism cooperation between India andthe U.S., an arrangement was concluded in June 2016 to facilitate exchange ofterrorist screening information through the designated contact points.India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism held its 14th meeting inJuly 2016 in Washington DC. Energy and Climate Change:  The U.

S.-India Energy Dialogue was launched in May 2005to promote trade and investment in the energy sector, and held its last meetingin September 2015 in Washington DC. There are six working groups in oil , coal, power and energy efficiency, new technologies& renewable energy,civil nuclear co-operation and sustainable development under the EnergyDialogue. Investment by Indian companies like Reliance, Essar and GAIL in theU.S. natural gas market is ushering in a new era of India-U.S.

energy partnership.The U.S. Department of Energy has so far given its approval for export of LNGfrom seven liquefaction terminals in the U.S., to countries with which the U.

S.does not have a free trade agreement (FTA) – with two of these five terminals,the Indian public sector entity, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) hasofftake agreements, totaling nearly 6 million metric tonnes per annum (MTPA).These terminals are expected to be complete and in a position to export cargoesby late 2016/early 2017. As a priority initiative under the PACE (Partnershipto Advance Clean Energy), the U.

S. Department of Energy (DOE) and theGovernment of India have established the Joint Clean Energy Research andDevelopment Center (JCERDC) designed to promote clean energy innovations byteams of scientists from India and the United States, with a total jointcommitted funding from both Governments of US$ 50 million. Space:  A bilateral Joint Working Group on Civil SpaceCooperation provides a forum for discussion on joint activities in space,including (i) exchange of scientists; (ii) OCM2, INSAT3D collaboration; (iii)Cooperation on Mars mission; (iv) nano-satellites; (v) carbon /ecosystemmonitoring and modeling; (vi) feasibility of collaboration in radiooccultation: (vii) Earth Science Cooperation: (viii) international spacestation; (ix) global navigation satellite systems; (x) L band SAR; (xi)space exploration cooperation; (xii) space debris mediation. The last meetingof the JWG was held in September 2015 in Bengaluru. NASA and ISRO arecollaborating for India’s Mars Orbiter Mission and for a dual-band SyntheticAperture Radar (NISAR). In June 2016, ISRO successfully launched record 20satellites onboard PSLV rocket, which included 13 satellites from the UnitedStates. Science & Technology (S&T): The India-U.S.

S&T cooperation has been steadilygrowing under the framework of U.S.-India Science and Technology CooperationAgreement signed in October 2005. There is an Indo-U.S. Science &Technology Joint Commission, co-chaired by the Science Advisor to U.S.

President and Indian Minister of S&T. The U.S. attended as the partnercountry at the Technology Summit 2014 at New Delhi. In 2000, both thegovernments endowed the India-U.

S. Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) tofacilitate mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in science, engineering,and health. Over the past decade, the IUSSTF has facilitated more than 12,000interactions between Indian and U.S.

scientists, supported over 250 bilateralworkshops and established over 30 joint research centers. The U.S.-IndiaScience & Technology Endowment Fund, established in 2009, under the Scienceand Technology Endowment Board promote commercialization of jointly developedinnovative technologies with the potential for positive societal impact.

Collaboration between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and U.S. NationalOceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has been strengthened under the2008 MOU on Earth Observations and Earth Sciences. A “monsoon desk”has been established at the U.

S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction.India’s contribution of $250 million towards Thirty-Meter Telescope Project inHawaii and Indian Initiative in Gravitational Observations (IndiGO) with U.S.LIGO Laboratory are examples of joint collaboration to create world-classresearch facilities. Health Sector: Under the 2010 U.S.-India Health Initiative, four workinggroups have been organized in the areas of Non-Communicable Diseases,Infectious Diseases, Strengthening Health Systems and Services, and Maternaland Child Health.

In order to build up the disease surveillance andepidemiological capacity in India, Global Disease Detection-India Centre wasestablished in 2010 and an Epidemic Intelligence Service program launched inOct 2012. U.S.

National Institutes of Health, the Indian Council of MedicalResearch, and India’s Department of Biotechnology have developed a robustrelationship in the biomedical and behavioral health sciences, research relatedto HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, eyedisease, hearing disorders, mental health, and low-cost medical technologies.In the first meeting of the Health Dialogue in September 2015 in Washington DC,both sides agreed to collaborate institutionally in the new areas of mentalhealth and regulatory and capacity-building aspects of traditional medicine.            RECOMMENDATIONS The following three areasoffer a way to focus U.S. efforts in the coming months: DeepenDefense Cooperation At a time when internationalnorms and institutions are being tested, the U.

S. and India have stoodsteadfast in supporting an Indo-Pacific region that protects freedom ofnavigation and the sovereignty of states – large or small. The U.S. hasrecognized that a defense partnership with India will be critical tosafeguarding these values. As India seeks to modernize its defense capabilities,Washington should become India’s defense partner of choice by continuingto strengthen bilateral defense cooperation. PursueBilateral Economic DealsIn the coming decades, Asiawill be the growth engine for the world, and India will be one of the fastestgrowing large economies contributing to that growth.

This presents an immensemarket for U.S. goods and services, and an opportunity for India to benefitfrom greater trade and investment – leading to employment and growth for bothcountries. However, this requires being able to put in place the necessarypolicy frameworks that give confidence and certainty to the private sector. Investin ConnectivityIt is difficult to find aconcept that has such widespread support such as improving connectivity, bothwithin India and across the region.

  Whether it be improvingpeople-to-people ties, economic and development cooperation, physicalinfrastructure, energy security and access, or collaboration to addresstransnational threats, greater connectivity can create tremendous security,economic, and geopolitical value to the United States, India, and countries inthe region.