India-US ties: Depth & nuance


    In News 

    • Recently ,External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the relationship between India and US impacts the rest of the world as there are a lot of countries which look to the association individually and bilaterally .

    India- US ties

    • Comprehensive global strategic partnership : India and the United States enjoy a comprehensive global strategic partnership covering almost all areas of human endeavour, driven by shared democratic values, convergence of interests on a range of issues, and vibrant people-to-people contacts.
    • Bilateral Dialogue Mechanisms: Despite COVID-19 pandemic, India-U.S. cooperation witnessed intense engagement under various bilateral dialogue mechanisms in a wide range of areas including defence, security, health, trade, economic, science & technology, energy and people-to-people ties. 
      • India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, led by the heads of Foreign and Defence Ministries of India and the U.S, reviews the bilateral ties in defence, strategic and security domains as well as important regional and global issues.
    • Quad: The four Quad partners (India, Japan, United States & Australia) first formed a “Core Group” in 2004, to swiftly mobilise aid during the joint response to the 2004 Tsunami. Since 2017, Quad engagements have increased and intensified. 
    • Economic Relations:  The rapidly expanding trade and commercial linkages form an important component of the multi-faceted partnership between India and the United States. 
    • Counter Terrorism Cooperation: It has seen considerable progress  with information exchange, operational cooperation and sharing of counterterrorism technology and equipment..
    • Cyber Security Cooperation:The India-US Cyber Framework signed in September 2016, provides for expanding cooperation in the cyber domain.
    • Defence: In 2016, the defence relationship was designated as a Major Defence Partnership (MDP). 
      • Bilateral military exercises and defense exchanges are important aspect of deepening military-to-military cooperation.
        • Bilateral and regional exercises include: Yudh Abhyas (Army); Vajra Prahar (Special Forces); RIMPAC; Red Flag. 
        • In November 2020, the Royal Australian Navy joined the U.S.-India-Japan MALABAR Naval Exercise held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. 
    • Several defence agreements have been signed in recent years. These  include:
      • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (August 2016) 
      • Memorandum of Intent between the U.S. Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) 
      • the Indian Defence Innovation Organisation – Innovation for Defence Excellence (2018)
      • Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (September 2018)
      •  Industrial Security Agreement (December 2019);
      • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (October 2020).
    • Energy sector: India and the US have a strong bilateral partnership in the energy sector.
      • In 2010, bilateral Energy Dialogue was launched. 
    • Science and Technology: India-US cooperation in Science and Technology is multi-faceted and has been growing steadily under the framework of the India-US Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement signed in October 2005, which was renewed for a period of ten years in September 2019.
      • ISRO and NASA are working together to realise a joint microwave remote sensing satellite for Earth observation, named NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR). 
    • Education partnership:  It is an important pillar of India-US ties and both the countries share strong linkages and history of higher education collaborations.
      • The United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI)  was set up after a bilateral agreement on education exchange was signed between India and the US on February 2, 1950
    • Evolution over two decades: Indo-US nuclear deal of the George W Bush years elevated Indo-US ties to a higher strategic trajectory.
      • India and the United States have made real progress in elevating their partnership through institutions like QUAD and G20 and international organisations at the United Nations.


    • Current geopolitical context: India’s consistent neutral position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, informed by its choices, has antagonised many countries, including the U.S. 
      • The US has been unhappy that India has been buying more oil from Russia than earlier. India argues that it must protect its citizens from the inflationary impact of the war.
      • the U.S., warned of consequences for any country, including India, which conducts local currency transactions through Russia’s central bank or constructs a payment mechanism that subverts or circumvents the U.S.’s sanctions against Russia. 
      • India is concerned about a U.S. decision to provide a sustenance package for Pakistan’s fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft.
    • Other issues : The USA is worried about the trade deficit it has with India.
    • Different cases/ disagreements at WTO:
      • India’s domestic component clause was a bone of contention.
      • Similarly there is lack of consensus over the IPR regime and evergreening of patents.
      • Peace Clause and Public Procurement Policy
    • The US has ramped up H-1B denials under the executive order “Buy American and Hire American”.
    • The US has long demanded greater access to American agriculture and dairy products. 
    • For India, protecting its domestic agriculture and dairy interests was a major reason to walk out of the RCEP agreement.
    • US-Pakistan Equation: 
      • The US has often shown a soft corner for Pakistan due to dynamic equations in Afghanistan. 

    Future Prospects 

    • The partnership between India and US is simply one of the most consequential in the world.Quality of the dialogue can solve existing  differences and work  closely together is required 
    • 2+2 meeting is an opportunity for the two countries to further discuss their differences over Russia and elaborate on the bilateral agenda in terms of the progress that has been made on new initiatives.