India US Relations : An Analysis

India US Relations

India US Relations | Irritants

US Pakistan policy

  • Both aims at advancing regional security
  • US military aid to Pakistan in contravention of Kerry-Lugar legislation requiring Pakistan to act verifiably against terrorist groups on its soil to receive US aid.


  • US does not consider Taliban as a terrorist organization.
  • US is engaged in an effort to accommodate Taliban politically in Afghanistan in a Pakistan-brokered deal, which is a risk to India’s security.
    • Test for counter-terrorism partnership between two.

 UNSC Reforms

US has not clearly defined position on expansion of UNSC.

Four export control regimes

India has been declared ready for Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as well as Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) membership; so far no tangible progress has occurred.

Indo-US Nuclear Deal

With India ratifying Convention on Supplementary Compensation, an international nuclear liability regime governed by IAEA, supply of six Westinghouse nuclear reactors to India seems plausible.

India US Relations | Economic Spikes

Totaliser agreement

NRIs staying in USA pay taxes but do not get requisite Social Security benefits.

WTO issues

Solar Wars (anti dumping), Disagreement on subsidies

IPR related issues

India continues to be under US Trade Representatives scanner for not complying with their Intellectual property Rights regime.

India US Relations | Strength with a rider

  • Apart from Defense Framework Agreement, US has become a large supplier of defense equipment to India.
  • Largest number of Indian joint military exercises are with US.
  • Less than expected progress in defense manufacturing under Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

India US Relations | The China Angle

  • India has longstanding disputes with China.
  • 2015 US-India Joint Strategic Vision for Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region specifically addresses maritime territorial disputes involving China and, among other things, affirmed importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and freedom of air throughout region, especially in South China Sea.
  • US trade and financial relations with China are vast; India too seeks stable and economically productive ties with China.

Task ahead

  • Managing China threat by both engaging closely with US and reaching out to China.
  • Credibility of US rebalance to Asia and Pacific is yet to be tested.

India US Relations | Indo-Pacific Region

  • India-US to include Japan in bilateral India-US Malabar naval exercises.
  • Trilateral India-US-Japan political dialogue raised from official to Ministerial level.
  • India’s problems with China related to border disputes and China’s deepening relationship with Pakistan.
  • In both cases, India cannot count on US to take a position supportive of India.
  • Limit of strategic partnership – falls short of supporting India’s territorial sovereignty.

India US Relations | Economic Relations
Mixed progress

  • US businesses reluctant to invest in India – India not delivering on promises to ease doing business including taxation issues and general economic reforms.
  • IT sector brought knowledge economies of India and US closer but US is targeting this sector with higher visa costs and increased restrictions.

India US Relations | Future perspective
Collaborative economic agenda should include

  • Co-production and co-development of defense products under Make in India program,
  • Coal gasification technologies,
  • Issuance of a non-FTA country waiver for India to gain access to US fossil fuel reserves.
  • Partnerships in agricultural technology, civil aviation sector, life sciences, infrastructure financing and green financing.
  • NASA and ISRO joint projects/collaborations beyond NISAR, Mars Working Group and Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

Bilateral dialogues should address

  • Visa issues in IT/ITES (i.e. outsourcing services) sectors,
  • Focus on exporting synergies in biotech and pharmaceutical sectors,
  • Means to support university and other skill development exchanges.

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