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ISSUES MOTIVATED FOR CHOOSING THE STUDY

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With Mr. Barack Obama being elected as the 44th president of the United States in 2009, the entire global economy was hit with changes. During the same term we had Mr. Manmohan Singh as our Prime Minister. Talking about India’s relation with USA, before Mr. Barack Obama it was Mr. Bush who was the president and since then ties with USA were not as strong as they are today. One can very well say that we were not connected well with the USA.

The following factors/issues have motivated me to select this topic;

H1-B Visa.
China’s relation with Pakistan.
US aid to Pakistan ($900 million in security aid).
CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor).
Defence trade between India and US.
India shares similar democratic values with the US.
India is expected to become the third largest economy by 2030.
India’s geographical position with respect to Russia, China and Pakistan.

ORIGIN AND NATURE

From Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit in 1949 to Narendra Modi’s upcoming trip in September 2014, a number of leaders of the world’s largest democracy have been hosted by the world’s oldest democracy. In fact, a momentous political alteration in international relations in recent years is the evolvement of engagement between India and the United States of America.
Relations between the world’s two largest democracies have been both intriguing as well as complex. In the context of India-United States relations, much remains to be understood about the different sources of conflict in their relations, and how they have interacted over different periods of time and in divergent policy-making contexts. Any attempt to do this would require an inquiry into the situational and personal variables, cultural influences, the impact of constituents on the negotiation process and other related aspects. Needless to say, over the years, one has also noticed the role of the interacting variables in India-US relations. The nature and content of relations between New Delhi and Washington have been an enigma and a paradox over the last five decades. India’s relations with the US have always been a roller coaster. A former Indian Ambassador to the US termed the relations as “a pattern of misunderstanding, miscalculations and missed opportunities.” 
Any analysis of India-US relations will not be complete without the inclusion of the economic interests and concerns of the two. There are tremendous possibilities in India-US economic ties, which could even make India the focus of Washington’s South Asia policy. As India gets enmeshed in the global financial system, one can expect a growth in economic relations between the two countries. The Clinton Administration has recognised India as a major player in the economic field. South Asia as a whole is increasingly becoming a region of intense growth and development. The economic liberalisation policy of the Government of India has now paved the way for unprecedented trade and investment between India and the US. India is on the US Commerce Department’s top ten “big emerging markets.”
The US is the largest trading partner with India. The total volume of bilateral trade is now in the range of nine and ten billion dollars. India has a favourable balance of trade with the US, with a trade surplus of nearly $500 million to $1 billion. The US is now the single largest investor in India accounting for almost billion $4 out of a total of about $12 billion worth of foreign investments cleared by the Government of India since 1991. Being the largest foreign investor in India, the US accounts for about half of all foreign equity. Much as exports to the US are important for India, the US also needs the Indian market in a global market that is increasingly becoming competitive. India-US relations in trade and commerce should be facilitated on the basis of bilateral economic equations. The tremendous increase in India-US economic cooperation is the cornerstone of the new relationship between the two countries.

LITERATURE REVIEW

In spite of the Cold War having come to an end, the basic parameters remain largely unchanged. Washington now realises that it has to reckon with New Delhi’s views on regional as well as global issues. The swings and shifts in India-United States relations have largely been the result of the clash of US global strategic interests, concerns and priorities as opposed to the regional security interests, priorities and concerns of India as per (Appadorai & Rajan, 1985).  

The nuclear issue between India and the US remains as hot as it was 22 years ago when India conducted a peaceful nuclear explosion. Differences over the nuclear issue have greatly complicated the course of India-US relations and reflected the discordant aspect of their relations. In US-India relations, the nuclear divide may be treated as either a dependent or an independent variable. All the same, it has acted as a factor further complicating ties between the two countries. Both the countries do not hesitate to hide their basic differences over the issue. The US sold the idea of a regional nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) with India. For a time, even Kashmir was seriously perceived by Washington as a flashpoint for a possible nuclear conflict. Consistently attempts were made by the Clinton Administration to link Kashmir to non-proliferation, missile technology and arms control issues. India has contended that it will not give up its nuclear weapon option, and that it will constrain its nuclear programme only within the framework of global, non-discriminatory agreements. How India and the US will square the circle of non-proliferation in the region is a question that remains to be answered. There is a wide gulf in the US and Indian perceptions of global and national security. It is believed in certain quarters that the Clinton Administration’s nuclear policy towards South Asia is clearly India focussed, because China cannot be touched, and that Pakistan is a problem. The Brown Amendment and the recent exposures in the Washington Times about the ring magnet sales from China to Pakistan have further weakened US nuclear non-proliferation law at a time when Islamabad has been expanding its nuclear weapons capability clearly in violation of US law (Card, Daschle, Alden, & Slaughter, 2011). 

The post 9/11 world has acknowledged the link between terrorism and Pakistan. Americans appear to have become more committed than ever to the promotion of democracy as a means of stabilizing the international environment. Americans are resolute in pursuing this goal, with which Indians agree. Still India has some doubt about American sincerity. Surprisingly, United States has often seemed to prefer  dependence on military dictators than on democratically elected governments to serve its strategic requirements, and that American tactical decision-making often does not give much weight to democratic values. United States objections to India’s search for alternative energies are also noteworthy. United States wants to restrict India’s attempts to develop the India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline. The United States believes that the nuclear deal will end India’s dependence on the oil from Persian Gulf; however, despite being the pioneer in a field of nuclear energy, the United States is equally interested in maintaining a continued and unhindered flow of oil from the Persian Gulf for satisfying its own needs, which means the United States is free to look after its interests, but that India’s hands would be tied. (Stephen Cohens, 2001: 77).
The last but not the least, India and the US spent several decades during the Cold War over issue of nuclear weapons proliferation. India’s 1974 ‘peaceful nuclear explosion’ had cast a negative impact on the US, and the later made South Asia a centerpiece of its non-proliferation efforts by initiating legislation such as the 1978 Nuclear Non-proliferation Act, The PresslerAmendment Act (Devin,1998; Cohen &Ganguly, 1990). 
At the preferential level, Indians admired the Soviet Union’s economic success. This also appealed to the socialist proclivities of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and subsequent generation of Indian elites, who deeply distrusted American style of free market capitalism. In addition, Indians believed that the Soviet Union would not become a colonial power in the future because it lacked a colonial history; it would not seek to expand its territory or influence at Indian’s expense (Cohen & Ganguly, 2003-04). 

CURRENT SITUATION

At present, India and the US share an extensive and expanding cultural, strategic, military, and economic relationship which is in the phase of implementing confidence building measures (CBM) to overcome the legacy of trust deficit – brought about by adversarial US foreign policies and multiple instances of technology denial which have plagued the relationship over several decades. 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 consensus.
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), and reversal of long-standing American opposition to India’s strategic program.
Income creation in the USA through knowledge-based employment by Asian Indians has outpaced every other ethnic group according to U.S. Census data. Growing financial and political clout of the affluent Asian Indian diaspora is noteworthy. Indian American households are the most prosperous in the USA with a median revenue of US$100,000, followed by Chinese Americans at US$65000. The average household revenue in the USA is US$50000.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while visiting the United States addressed a joint session of Congress highlighting the common traits of both democracies and long-term friendship between the two countries. In a speech lasting more than 45 minutes, Mr. Modi drew on parallels between the two countries and addressed a variety of issues where the two countries have worked together in the past and where the future course of action would lie.
On June 26 Prime Minister Narendra Modi again visited US and met President Donald Trump. On 8 November 2017, US has announced a grant of nearly USD 500,000 for organisations which can come up with ideas and projects to promote religious freedom in India and Sri Lanka, its easy to infer that the current situation between India and America is getting politically stronger with each passing day.

LESSONS LEARNED

This project gave me a big opportunity to understand Indo-American relations in various fields like;

Political Relations – There is frequent interaction between the leadership of the two countries, including telephone calls and meetings on the sidelines of international summits. A hotline has been established between the Prime Minister’s Office and the U.S. White House followed by the frequent visits.

Strategic Consultations – India and U.S. have in recent years instituted structured dialogues covering East Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Africa and the Indian Ocean Region. India and the U.S. also have a trilateral with Japan (the first Ministerial-level meeting of the Foreign Ministers took place on 29 September 2015 in New York) and a trilateral with Afghanistan (last meeting held in 2013). 

Civil Nuclear Cooperation – During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US in September 2014, the two sides set up a Contact Group for advancing the full and timely implementation of the India-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, and to resolve pending issues. The Group has held five meetings so far, and reached agreement on the compatibility 

Defence Cooperation – Defence relationship has emerged as a major pillar of India-U.S. strategic partnership with the signing of ‘New Framework for India-U.S. Defence Relations’ in 2005 and the resulting intensification in defence trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, collaboration and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy, and exchanges between each of the three services. The Defence Framework Agreement was updated and renewed for another 10 years in June 2015. 

Trade and Economic – From a modest $ 5.6 billion in 1990, the bilateral trade in merchandise goods increased to $ 66.9 billion in 2014. India’s merchandise exports to the U.S. stood at $ 34.57 billion during the period January – September 2015, while US exports of merchandise to India was worth $ 16.54 billion in the same period. India – U.S. bilateral merchandise trade during the period January – September 2015 was $ 51.11 billion. 

Energy and Climate Change – 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 Centre (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. 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE

Looking Ahead Into the Future any improvement in India-United States relations will largely revolve around the ability and the motivation of the policy makers in both Washington and New Delhi to make a break with the turbulent past. Both countries need to count on one another. This process should continue and intensify. In the changed international scenario, the key to conducting diplomacy for both the countries is to engage in a dialogue, even when there appears to be no meeting ground. In the words of Ambassador Frank Wisner: “It has been the US hope to broaden the relationship, because of strategic significance, identify a broad range of mutual interests, so that ultimately the whole will be much greater than the sum of the parts and no difference and/or differences will impede the relationship.”
Liberation of India-US relations from the Pakistan factor; maintain a sustained and intensive India-US strategic dialogue; create a bilateral network of high-level contacts; and elevate the Indian profile in the American national security establishment. The adversarial relationship that had existed between the two countries on account of US commitments to Pakistan, could perhaps in the course of time give way to greater sensitivity in both Washington and New Delhi to each other’s sensitivities. It is this hope that perhaps provides the underpinning for the defence contacts between the two countries. Strategic planners in the US are also inclined to believe that defence cooperation with a regional power like India could be of advantage in the long run. Needless to say, India “desires to be a partner” in long-term defence cooperation “rather than a surrogate” as Pakistan was during the Cold War. Rather, it should prefer a strategic relationship in its own right as a regional power.
The best way to improve India-US relations is to maintain a two-track dialogue–one at the government level and the other at the popular level. Two basic questions that should be raised are: what is it that the US wants from India, and what is it prepared to give in return? The second question being, what is it that India would like to get from the US and what is it that India can give in return? The current phase of India-US relations suggests that today the US too needs India in a rapidly changing world. Delinking trade from security issues in India-US relations has never been an easy proposition. Rather the endeavour should be to strike the right balance between economic and security issues. One clearly sees the complementarity of interests. India desires US investments, US technology and US markets, whereas the US desires new markets for its products and also new areas of investment abroad. Perhaps economic relations will define India-US political relations in the future, since South Asia as a whole is increasingly getting integrated with the global marketplace. One can expect that the economic aspect will have a multiplier effect on bilateral relations.
Even on issues where there are differences like human rights, non-proliferation, transfer of dual use of technology, it may be necessary for New Delhi and Washington to avoid rash value judgments or didactic pronouncements. Emotive and instant reactions need to be avoided. For example, an American official is on record as having once said that “every time the US says something, India pops up and says just the opposite.” India and the US have to accept the inevitability of disagreements on specific issues, without distorting their overall relations. Despite differences, constructive relations between India and the US are desirable and necessary. The US has to realise that India cannot share all its prejudices and predilections and all its friends and foes. The larger question that the US should ask itself is whether this is the only basis to conduct relations with any country. India-US relations should be allowed to evolve at their natural pace. There are bound to be frictions, as is the case in all healthy and dynamic relationships. It is necessary to be open and critical and also exhibit a more knowledgeable interest in each other. There is need for greater resilience in order to deal with the challenges of the future.

REFERENCE

Appadorai, A., & Rajan M.S. (1985).India’s Foreign Policy and Relations.New Delhi: South Asian Publishers, 216. 
Card, A.H., Daschle, T.A., Alden, E., & Slaughter, Mathew J. (2011, September). ‘US Trade and Investment Policy .Council on Foreign Relation Task Force.’ Retrieved from http://www.cfr.org/-trade/us- trade-investment-policy/p.25737. 
Cohen, S. & Sumit Ganguly. (1990), Deterrence Failure Revisited: The Indo-Pakistani Conflict of 1965, Journal of Strategic Studies, 13(4), 77-93, 273-274. 
Cohen, S. (2001). India: Emerging Power. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 117 
Cohen, S. , Sumit (2003-04).India’s Foreign Policy Grows Up.World Policy Journal, XX (4), 41, 72 
Devin T. Hagerty (1998), The Consequences of Nuclear Proliferation: Lessons from South Asia, Cambridge Massachusetts Institutes of Technology Press, 74- 75,82-83. 

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