International Relation between India and US

International Relation India US

International Relation between India and US

India-US relations have developed into a strategic partnership, based on increasing convergence of interests on economic, regional and global political issues. The bilateral cooperation is now broad-based and multi-sectoral, covering trade and investment, defence and security, education, science and technology, cyber security, high-technology, civil nuclear energy, space technology and applications, clean energy, environment, agriculture and health. Regular exchange of high level political visits, wide ranging dialogues, People to people interaction have helped establish a long-term framework for India-US global strategic partnership.

Historically India and US were not allies and often found each other of the other side of the idealogical war. Differences in our backgrounds, resources, attitudes, perspectives and priorities were clearly reflected during the Cold War. The characteristic American hostility towards India was particularly visible during the Dulles period, when a country that did not toe the American line was considered to be against it. Both New Delhi and Washington have viewed their national interest’s vis-a-vis the world at large in divergent ways.

India and US have expanded their strategic consultations with dialogues covering East Asia, Central Asia and West Asia. The two sides have agreed on strategic consultations covering Latin America, Africa and the Indian Ocean Region. India and the US have a trilateral meeting with Japan as another party.

A ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue was launched in 2009, which focuses on bilateral relations along five pillars of mutual interest: strategic cooperation, energy and climate change, education and development; economy, trade and agriculture; science and technology, and health and innovation.


Defence Relationship

Defence relationship has emerged as a major pillar of India-U.S. strategic partnership with the New Framework for India-US Defence Relations signed in 2005, bilateral defence cooperation has intensified with growing defense trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, collaboration and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy, and exchanges between each of the three services.

A Joint Declaration on Defence Cooperation highlighted the deepening of Indo-US relations was issued in 2013. Both countries also continue to engage under several bilateral institutional mechanisms. India and United States are making efforts to transform defence ties to pursue op-portunities for technological collaboration in the field of joint research and co-product ion of major defence equipment.


Counter-Terrorism Cooperation

Cooperation in counter-terrorism progressed with intelligence sharing, information exchange, operational cooperation, counter-terrorism technology and equipment. The India-US Counter-Terrorism Cooperation Initiative was signed in 2010. Separately functional level cooperation on counter-terrorism is being pursued through a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter Terrorism that was established in January 2000.

Nuclear Cooperation

The bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement was finalised in July 2007 and signed in October 2008. The two governments announced the completion of all steps to begin implementation of the Civil Nuclear Agreement. NPCIL and Westinghouse signed a “preliminary contract” in September 2013 for the nuclear power project in Gujarat.


Trade and commerce

Total bilateral trade in goods touched $ 64.4 billion in 2016-17, from a modest $ 5.6 billion in 1990. Indian exports accounted for USD 41.8 billion against US exports stood at USD 21.9 billion. There are several dialogue mechanisms to strengthen bilateral engagement on economic and trade issues, including a Ministerial Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and a Ministerial level Economic and Financial Partnership.

Meeting of India-US Financial and Economic Partnership are held regularly. India and US are negotiating a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). A Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) has been created separately, consisting of prominent Indian and international trade experts to provide strategic recommendations and insights to the US-India Trade Policy Forum.

The Unites States is the fifth largest source of foreign direct investments into India. The FDI inflows from US into India were $ 4 billion, during the FY 2015-16.


Cultural Ties

The 3.5-million-plus strong Indian American community is an important ethnic group in the U.S., accounting for about 1% of the total population in the country.


Indian Ocean region Power Balance

Part of the bilateral security agenda involves developing India’s capacity to assume a bigger role as a net security provider in the region. Unlike parts of Europe and Asia, India is not dependent on US security guarantees, and is eager to have a larger military presence, particularly in the Indian Ocean.

Indian efforts have complemented US interests, including in patrols of the Strait of Malacca, counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the evacuation of civilians from Yemen.


China Factor

US perceives India has balancing force to China.This further reinforces India-US relationship. For the American state, China, as a threat, comes in the category of ‘important, but not urgent’. Moreover, China is a valuable partner dealing with some more urgent questions.


Pakistan Factor

Reduction of Military Aid to Pakistan: US understands the India’s concern of Pakistan fueling terrorist activities.


Contentious Points

  • The Trump administration is locking down on misuse of H-1B visa by bringing in reformist measures in its allocation eligibility.The business model of Indian IT giants like Infosys, Wipro, TCS is based on their ability to locate a crucial part of their workforce in the U.S. who in turn support the operation of jobs carried out in India.
  • The Trump administration is locking down on misuse of H-1B visa by bringing in reformist measures in its allocation eligibility.The business model of Indian IT giants like Infosys, Wipro, TCS is based on their ability to locate a crucial part of their workforce in the U.S. who in turn support the operation of jobs carried out in India.
  • The US would want India to join the Budapest convention, the legally binding mechanism to address cyber-crime and develop norms for quick response. But India has some apprehensions in this regard especially given that it was not a part of the drawing process of the treaty.
  • India, with the second largest Internet user base in the world, would certainly seek a larger role at ICANN. Moreover, given the American emphasis on military aspects of cyber, India and the US might not be on the same page on the question of applicability of international law to state conduct in cyberspace.  Trump is known to be exercised about the trade deficit the US with India. The US trade deficit spans both the goods and services sectors. Trade deficit in services is driven primarily by the deficit in the Information sector and principally because of outsourcing and H1B visas.
  • Trade barriers such as tariffs on goods and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
  • Tariff reduction and Environment funding
  • Service facilitation agreement: US and other developed countries have been less enthusiastic for free movement in services in which they view developing countries like India a threat for their local jobs.
  • Geopolitical Factors – India’s friendly relations with Iran has been contentious with the Americans. US also exhorts India to be more active in the local region like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq etc by pledging investments and defence support but India has long resisted any involvement.
  • US has in the name of dual use technologies resisted in providing critical technologies for defence, R& D purpose.
  • Ever-greening of patents: India-US have strong reservations on ever-greening of patents.


Way Forward

  • To effectively engage in mutually beneficial talks, the US needs to recognize and address India’s concerns about American trade policy. To effectively engage in mutually beneficial talks, the US needs to recognize and address India’s concerns about American trade policy.
  • India should address a number of US concerns by extending the application of good governance principles—including timely and transparent decision-making—being implemented in a bid to improve India’s ranking in the global ease of doing business index.
  • The US should aim to better the standards and technical barriers it applies to Indian exports in precisely the manner it demands of India’s similar practices.
  • There should be a start of negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), realizing that a bilateral arrangement could be less contentious. Providing safeguards to U.S. businesses through a BIT could open up new lines of investment, which would be valuable for workers in the U.S. and India.
  • India’s concerns regarding US trade policies will need to be addressed to improve the possibility of mutually beneficial access to India’s markets.
  • An important element to successful progress on trade is to ensure that each side operates on more comprehensive knowledge and a greater appreciation of prevailing situations and trends. For instance, India is instituting substantial reforms in both non-tariff measures and investment regimes.
  • Bulk deals between Indian and American companies such as sale of Boeing planes and Lockheed Martin fighter jets can have a big positive effect on economic activity and jobs. Clearly, the US too has self-interest in developing economic ties with India.


The effort to construct an India-US strategic partnership in the last two decades was based on the assumption that the American unipolar moment will endure. America looked at partnering a rising India to sustain US primacy and to counter China’s rising influence in the Indo-Pacific. Beside the geopolitical reasons, economic reasons are most important for the relation between the largest economy and one of the largest and fastest growing economy of the world.