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US Secretary of State’s Visit to India

  • 29 Jul 2021
  • 8 min read

Why in News

Recently, in his visit to India, the US Secretary of State mentioned that actions by India and the US will shape the 21st century.

Key Points

  • Major Discussions:
    • Afghanistan:
      • There is no military solution to the conflict, and that taking over the country by force would not help the Taliban gain the international recognition or legitimacy it desires, including the lifting of sanctions and travel bans against the Taliban leadership.
        • India mentioned Pakistan was an exception to the consensus for a peaceful political settlement.
      • An Afghanistan that did not respect the rights of its people, and an Afghanistan that committed atrocities against its own people would not be part of the global community.
        • Afghanistan has to be inclusive and fully representative of Afghan people.
    • Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific:
      • Both share a vision of free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
      • Highlighted cooperation in the Indo-Pacific as part of the QUAD (Quadrilateral Framework) with Japan and Australia, and clarified that QUAD is not a military alliance at all.
    • Covid- Vaccination:
    • Climate Change:
  • US’ Stand:
    • Termed the Indo-US relationship as one of the most important partnerships in the world.
    • Both share a commitment to democratic values which is part of the bedrock of their relationship and reflective of India’s pluralistic society and history of harmony.
      • Both believe in human dignity, in equality of opportunity, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion and belief.
      • People deserve to have a voice in their government and be treated with respect no matter who they are.
    • Cited business cooperation, educational engagement, religious and spiritual ties and ties between millions of families as some of the key pillars of the overall relationship.
    • Referred to the rising global threats to democracy and international freedoms and talked about democratic recession (Human Rights Issues in China), noting that it is vital for India and the US to continue to stand together in support of these ideals.
    • Inter­religious relations, media freedom, farmers' protests, love 'jihad’ violence and minority rights were part of the discussion that the US Secretary of State had with a group of people, including a representative of the Dalai Lama.
  • India’s Stand:
    • India-US bilateral ties have enhanced to a level that enables the two nations to deal collaboratively with larger issues.
    • Welcomes US’ strong commitment to strengthen the India-US strategic partnership that is anchored in shared democratic values and is a force for global good.
    • Responded to the US concerns on the issues with a number of points, making it clear that the quest for a more perfect democracy applied to both the US and India.
    • India’s policies of the last few years had been to right wrongs done historically, and that while freedoms are important, they should not be equated with the lack of governance”.

Current State of India-US Ties

  • Defence:
  • Trade:
  • 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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