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EAM’s Visit to US

  • 31 May 2021
  • 6 min read

Why in News

Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) on his visit to the US met American lawmakers, National Security Advisor, Defense Secretary, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and representatives from the private sector.

Key Points

  • Major Discussions:
    • Regional (Indo-Pacific) or global issues, Afghanistan and on further developing the India-US strategic and defence partnership.
    • Vaccine cooperation, contemporary security challenges, support for efficient and robust supply chains, among others.
    • The U.S. India Business Council (USIBC) meeting included a discussion on how the private sector, working via a consortium of 40 companies called the ‘Global Task Force for Pandemic Response’, could “support India’s health infrastructure and further ways to continue relief efforts.
      • The USBIC was formed in 1975 as a business advocacy organization to enlighten and encourage the private sectors of both India and the US to enhance investment flows.
  • India’s Stand:
    • The US military has played a key role in the US’s efforts to assist India as it battles a devastating wave of Covid-19.
    • Trade, technology & business cooperation are at the core of strategic partnership which must be enhanced further for post-Covid economic recovery.
    • Welcomed US’s positive stance on Intellectual property rights (IPR) issues & support for efficient & robust supply chains.
  • US’ Stand:
    • Both are united in confronting Covid-19 together, in dealing with the challenge posed by climate change, to partner together directly, through QUAD (Quadrilateral Framework) and other institutions in the United Nations in dealing with many of the challenges of the region and around the world.
  • Mutual Stand:
    • People-to-people ties and shared values are the foundation of the U.S.-India strategic partnership that is helping to end the pandemic, supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, and providing global leadership on climate change.
    • Welcomed cooperation that has resulted in the delivery of over USD 500 million in relief materials (state, federal and private sector sources) from the U.S. to India.

Current State of India-US Ties

  • Defence:
    • India and US inked important defence pacts in the last few years and also formalised the four nation alliance of QUAD.
      • The alliance is seen as an important counter to China in the Indo-Pacific.
    • The Malabar exercise in November 2020 portrayed a high point in Indo-US strategic ties, it was the first time in 13 years that all four countries of QUAD came together sending a fir message to China.
    • India now has access to american bases from Djibouti in Africa to Guam in the Pacific. It can also access advanced communication technology used in US defence.
  • Trade:
    • The previous US government ended India’s special trade status and also imposed several bans, India also retaliated with bans on 28 US products.
    • Current US government has allowed all the bans by the previous government to expire.
  • Indian Diaspora:
    • There is a growing presence of Indian diaspora in all spheres in the US. For example the current Vice-President (Kamala Harris) of the US has a strong Indian connection.
    • There are several Indian origin people holding strong leadership positions in the current US administration.
  • Covid-Cooperation:
    • When the US was reeling under a deadly Covid wave last year, India rushed important medical supplies and eased export restrictions to help the country.
    • Initially the US showed hesitancy in returning the favour when India needed it, however the US quickly changed its stance and rushed supplies to India.

Way Forward

  • There is a huge potential to boost bilateral trade between the countries especially on account of increasing anti-China sentiment in both the nations.
  • Thus, the negotiation should focus on the resolution of various non-tariff barriers and other market access improvements as early as possible.
  • In order to counter China in the maritime domain, India needs to fully engage with the US and other partners in the Indo-pacific region, in order to preserve the freedom of navigation and the rules-based order.
  • In international politics, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. In such a scenario India must continue to pursue its foreign policy of strategic hedging.

Source: TH

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