ISSUES We Go”, and “Sanjha Prayas, Sab ka



India-U.S. bilateral relations have
developed into a “global strategic partnership”, based on shared
democratic values and increasing convergence of interests on bilateral,
regional and global issues. The emphasis placed by the Government in India on
development and good governance has created opportunity to reinvigorate
bilateral ties and enhance cooperation under the motto — “Chalein Saath
Saath: Forward Together We Go”, and “Sanjha Prayas, Sab ka Vikas”
(Shared Effort, Progress for All) adopted during the first two summits of Prime
Minister Modi and President Obama in September 2014 and January 2015
respectively. The summit level joint statement issued in June 2016 called the
India-U.S. relationship an “Enduring Global Partners in the 21st Century”. Regular
exchange of high-level political visits has provided sustained momentum to
bilateral cooperation, while the wide-ranging and ever-expanding dialogue
architecture has established a long-term framework for India-U.S. engagement.
Today, the India-U.S. bilateral cooperation is 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.
Vibrant people-to-people interaction and support across the political spectrum
in both countries nurture our bilateral relationship.

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India is in the midst of major and rapid
economic expansion. Many U.S. business interests view India as a lucrative
market and candidate for foreign investment. The United States supports India’s
efforts to transform its once quasi-socialist economy through fiscal reform and
market opening. Since 1991, India has taken steps in this direction, with
coalition governments keeping the country on a general path of reform. However,
there is U.S. concern that movement remains slow and inconsistent.




India is an indispensable partner for the
United States. Geographically, it sits between the two most immediate
problematic regions for U.S. national interests. The arc of instability that
begins in North Africa, goes through the Middle East, and proceeds to Pakistan
and Afghanistan ends at India’s western border. To its east, India shares a
contested land border with the other rising Asian power of the twenty-first
century, China. India—despite continuing challenges with internal violence—is a
force for stability, prosperity, democracy, and the rule of law in a very
dangerous neighborhood.




For New Delhi, the
principal driver behind the transformation of its relations with Washington
lies in the Indian ambition to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2025
and, consequently, also emerge as one of the key global political and security
actors. This fundamental objective requires two external conditions: first, at
the very least, ensuring a nowar environment, particularly in India’s immediate
neighborhood; and second, the ability to shape global rules in terms of
existing and emerging norms and institutions that have a direct impact on
India’s ambitious development goal and economic well-being—particularly
multilateral norms and institutions related to climate, cyber, energy, food,
outer space, trade, and water (rivers and oceans)policy.




Despite this
significant progress, India and the U.S. still have a long way to go to reach
their desired goals of enhanced bilateral relation in strategic spheres. In
2015, imports from the U.S. were US$21.4bn while India’s exports to the U.S.,
which totalled about US$40bn in 2015, stood at less than two per cent of total
goods that enter the U.S.















 United States


Republic of India

United States of

Coat of

Population 217

1,326,572,000 (2017)

324,459,463 (2017)

Urbanization 218

31.16% (2016)

82% (2016)

Land Area219

3,287,263 km²

9,525,468 km²

Population density 217219




New Delhi

Washington, D.C.


Federal parliamentary constitutional republic

Federal presidential constitutional


President: Ram Nath Kovind
Prime Minister: Narendra Modi

President: Donald Trump
Vice President: Mike Pence


The relationships between India in the
days of the British Raj and the US were thin.14 Swami
Vivekananda promoted Yoga and Vedanta in
America at the World’s Parliament of Religions in
Chicago, during the World’s Fair in 1893. Mark Twain visited
India in 189615 and
described it in his travelogue Following the Equator with both
revulsion and attraction before concluding that India was the only foreign land
he dreamed about or longed to see again.16 Regarding
India, Americans learned more from English writer Rudyard
Kipling.17 Mahatma
Gandhi had an important influence on the philosophy of non-violence
promoted by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950s.

In the 1930s and early 1940s the United
States gave very strong support to the Indian independence movement in defiance
of the British Empire.1819 The
first significant immigration from India before 1965 involved Sikh farmers
going to California in the early 20th century.

After Indian independence and until the end of the Cold War, the relationship between the US and India was cold and
often thorny. This was due to the closeness of the US towards India’s
arch-rival Pakistan during the War, with Pakistan joining the US-led Western Bloc in
1954. India’s policy of being not aligned with either the US or the Soviet Union, but maintaining close ties with the latter, also impacted
relations. American officials perceived India’s policy of non-alignment
negatively. Ambassador Henry F. Grady told then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the United States did not consider neutrality to
be an acceptable position. Grady told the State Department in December 1947
that he had informed Nehru “that this is a question that cannot be
straddled and that India should get on the democratic side immediately.

During the
tenure of the George W.
Bush administration, relations
between India and the United States were seen to have blossomed, primarily over
common concerns regarding growing Islamic extremism, energy security, and climate change.49 George W. Bush commented,
“India is a great example of democracy. It is very devout, has diverse religious
heads, but everyone is comfortable about their religion. The world needs
India”.50 Fareed Zakaria,
in his book The
Post-American World, described
George W. Bush as “being the most pro-Indian president in American history.
At present, India and the US share an extensive and expanding cultural,
strategic, military, and economic relationship149150151152153which
is in the phase of implementing confidence building
measures (CBM) to overcome the legacy of trust deficit –
brought about by adversarial US foreign policies 154155156157 and
multiple instances of technology denial 158159160161162 –
which have plagued the relationship over several decades.163164 Unrealistic
expectations after the conclusion of the 2008 U.S.–India Civil Nuclear Agreement(which
underestimated negative public opinion regarding the long-term viability of
nuclear power generation and civil-society endorsement for contractual
guarantees on safeguards and liability) has given way to pragmatic realism and
refocus on areas of cooperation which enjoy favourable political and electoral

Key recent developments include the
rapid growth of India’s economy, closer ties between the Indian and American
industries especially in the Information and communications technology (ICT),
engineering and medical sectors, an informal entente to manage an
increasingly assertive China, robust cooperation on counter-terrorism, the
deterioration of U.S.-Pakistan relations, easing of export
controls over dual-use goods & technologies (99% of licenses applied for
are now approved),165 and
reversal of long-standing American opposition to India’s strategic program.




The U.S.
has four “foundational” agreements that it signs with its defence
partners. The Pentagon describes the agreements as “routine instruments
that the U.S. uses to promote military cooperation with partner-nations”.
American officials have stated that the agreements are not prerequisites for
bilateral defence co-operation, but would make it simpler and more
cost-effective to carry out activities such as refueling aircraft or ships in
each other’s countries and providing disaster relief.196 The first of the four agreements, the
General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), was signed by
India and the U.S. in 2002. The agreement enables the sharing of military
intelligence between the two countries and requires each country to protect the
others’ classified information. The second agreement, the Logistics Exchange
Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), was signed by the two countries on 29 August
2016. The LEMOA permits the military of either country to use the others’ bases
for re-supplying or carrying out repairs. The agreement does not make the
provision of logistical support binding on either country, and requires
individual clearance for each request.



The United
States is one of India’s largest direct investors. From 1991 to 2004, the stock
of FDI inflow 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 and registered partnership firms are now allowed to invest in
businesses up to 100 percent of their net worth. India’s largest outgoing
investments are in the manufacturing sector, which accounts for 54.8 percent of
the country’s foreign investments. The second largest are in non-financial
services (software development), accounting for 35.4 percent of investments.



In late September 2001, President Bush
lifted sanctions imposed under the terms of the 1994 Nuclear
Proliferation Prevention Act following India’s nuclear tests in May
1998. A succession of non-proliferation dialogues bridged many of the gaps in
understanding between the countries.

In December 2006, the US Congress passed
the historic Henry J. Hyde US-India Peaceful
Atomic Cooperation Act, which allows direct civilian nuclear commerce with
India for the first time in 30 years. US policy had been opposed to nuclear
cooperation with India in prior years because India had developed nuclear
weapons against international conventions, and had never signed the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT). The legislation clears the way for India to
buy US nuclear reactors and fuel for civilian use.

The India–United States Civil
Nuclear Agreement also referred to as the “123 Agreement”,
signed on 10 October 2008 is a bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear
cooperation which governs civil nuclear trade between American and Indian firms
to participate in each other’s civil nuclear energy sector. For the agreement
to be operational, nuclear vendors and operators must comply with India’s
2010 Nuclear Liability Act which stipulates
that nuclear suppliers, contractors and operators must bear financial
responsibility in case of an accident.

Prominent industrial accidents (1984
Bhopal chemical-gas disaster and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster)
has led to greater scrutiny by civil society into corporate responsibility and
financial liability obligations of vendors and operators of critical
infrastructure. In 2010, the Indian Parliament voted the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act to
address concerns and provide civil liability for nuclear damage and prompt
compensation to the victims of a nuclear incident.


Counter-terrorism and internal security:


Cooperation in counter-terrorism has
seen considerable progress with intelligence sharing, information exchange,
operational cooperation, counter-terrorism technology and equipment. India-U.S.
Counter-Terrorism Cooperation Initiative was signed in 2010 to expand
collaboration on counter-terrorism, information sharing and capacity building.
A Homeland Security Dialogue was announced during President Obama’s visit to
India in November 2010 to further deepen operational cooperation,
counter-terrorism technology transfers and capacity building. Two rounds of
this Dialogue have been held, in May 2011 and May 2013, with six Sub-Groups
steering cooperation in specific areas. In December 2013, India-U.S Police
Chief Conference on homeland security was organized in New Delhi. Police
Commissioners from India’s top four metropolis paid a study visit to the U.S.
to learn the practices of megacities policing in the U.S. in November 2015. The
two sides have agreed on a joint work plan to counter the threat of Improvised
Explosives Device (IED). In order to further enhance the counter terrorism
cooperation between India and the U.S., an arrangement was concluded in June
2016 to facilitate exchange of terrorist screening information through the
designated contact points. India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism
held its 14th meeting in July 2016 in Washington DC.


Energy and Climate Change:


The U.S.-India Energy Dialogue was
launched in May 2005 to promote trade and investment in the energy sector, and
held its last meeting in September 2015 in Washington DC. There are six working
groups in oil & gas, coal, power and energy efficiency, new technologies&
renewable energy, civil nuclear co-operation and sustainable development under
the Energy Dialogue. Investment by Indian companies like Reliance, Essar and
GAIL in the U.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 LNG from 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) has offtake agreements, totaling nearly 6 million metric tonnes
per annum (MTPA). These terminals are expected to be complete and in a position
to export cargoes by late 2016/early 2017. As a priority initiative under the
PACE (Partnership to Advance Clean Energy), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
and the Government of India have established the Joint Clean Energy Research
and Development Center (JCERDC) designed to promote clean energy innovations by
teams of scientists from India and the United States, with a total joint
committed funding from both Governments of US$ 50 million.




A bilateral Joint Working Group on Civil
Space Cooperation 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 /ecosystem
monitoring and modeling; (vi) feasibility of collaboration in radio
occultation: (vii) Earth Science Cooperation: (viii) international space
station; (ix) global navigation satellite systems; (x) L&S band SAR; (xi)
space exploration cooperation; (xii) space debris mediation. The last meeting
of the JWG was held in September 2015 in Bengaluru. NASA and ISRO are
collaborating for India’s Mars Orbiter Mission and for a dual-band Synthetic
Aperture Radar (NISAR). In June 2016, ISRO successfully launched record 20
satellites onboard PSLV rocket, which included 13 satellites from the United


Science & Technology (S):


The India-U.S. S cooperation has
been steadily growing under the framework of U.S.-India Science and Technology
Cooperation Agreement 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. The U.S. attended as the partner
country at the Technology Summit 2014 at New Delhi. In 2000, both the
governments endowed the India-U.S. Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) to
facilitate mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in science, engineering,
and health. Over the past decade, the IUSSTF has facilitated more than 12,000
interactions between Indian and U.S. scientists, supported over 250 bilateral
workshops and established over 30 joint research centers. The U.S.-India
Science & Technology Endowment Fund, established in 2009, under the Science
and Technology Endowment Board promote commercialization of jointly developed
innovative technologies with the potential for positive societal impact.
Collaboration between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and U.S. National
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has been strengthened under the
2008 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 in
Hawaii and Indian Initiative in Gravitational Observations (IndiGO) with U.S.
LIGO Laboratory are examples of joint collaboration to create world-class
research facilities.


Health Sector:

Under the 2010 U.S.-India Health
Initiative, four working groups have been organized in the areas of
Non-Communicable Diseases, Infectious Diseases, Strengthening Health Systems
and Services, and Maternal and Child Health. In order to build up the disease
surveillance and epidemiological capacity in India, Global Disease
Detection-India Centre was established in 2010 and an Epidemic Intelligence
Service program launched in Oct 2012. U.S. National Institutes of Health, the
Indian Council of Medical Research, and India’s Department of Biotechnology
have developed a robust relationship in the biomedical and behavioral health
sciences, research related to HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular
diseases, eye disease, 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 mental health and regulatory and capacity-building aspects of
traditional medicine.

















The following
three areas offer a way to focus U.S. efforts in the coming months:


Deepen Defense Cooperation 

At a time when
international norms and institutions are being tested, the U.S. and India have
stood steadfast in supporting an Indo-Pacific region that protects freedom of
navigation and the sovereignty of states – large or small. The U.S. has
recognized that a defense partnership with India will be critical to
safeguarding these values. As India seeks to modernize its defense
capabilities, Washington should become India’s defense partner of choice
by continuing to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation.


Pursue Bilateral Economic Deals

In the coming
decades, Asia will be the growth engine for the world, and India will be one of
the fastest growing large economies contributing to that growth. This presents
an immense market for U.S. goods and services, and an opportunity for India to benefit
from greater trade and investment – leading to employment and growth for both
countries. However, this requires being able to put in place the necessary
policy frameworks that give confidence and certainty to the private sector.


Invest in Connectivity

It is difficult to
find a concept that has such widespread support such as improving connectivity,
both within India and across the region.  Whether it be improving
people-to-people ties, economic and development cooperation, physical infrastructure,
energy security and access, or collaboration to address transnational threats,
greater connectivity can create tremendous security, economic, and geopolitical
value to the United States, India, and countries in the region.