US-India relations

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The First Couple of United States have indicated their plans to visit India. As per the news from the Oval office of United States it has been confirmed that the President of the United States Donald J. Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump will visit India for two days in the month of February. The arrival news of the US first couple has been prominently announced in a tweet by the White House. The same tweet marked the strengthening of US-India strategic partnership.

Trump and the First Lady will attend official engagements in New Delhi and Ahmedabad, Gujarat. During the Gujarat visit, the President will interact with people in an event, called “Howdy Trump”. This is portrayed as a repetition of the “Howdy Modi” show that took place in Houston, Texas, during the PM Modi’s US visit in September last year.

Trump and Modi will inaugurate the newly constructed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium and address a gathering which, according to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation officials, is going to be attended by more than 100,000 people, whom the local administration is mustering “not only from the state but also other parts of India.”

History of the India-US Bilateral

Since India’s independence, the relations between both the countries India and United States of America had been inhibited by Cold War. The first half century of the bilateral, in retrospect, has been disappointing. The clash of interests that began during World War II when the Indians and Americans diverged on basic priorities continued through the more forty years of the cold war. The two countries found themselves on opposite sides of major foreign and security policy issues despite their common adherence to the democratic system.

When the cold was over, Indo-US relations could become more positive. It is uncertain, however, that the two governments will take advantage of this opportunity.

Significance of the US for India

The United States has exhibited, through its relative world dominance and power, its significance for India. This significance is in the following forms:

  • For safeguarding India’s national interests.
  • The role of US in UNSC and International Monetary Institutions is of worth to India. India’s aspiration to become a permanent member of UNSC can be achieved through closer ties with the US.
  • The US is also one of the top sources of FDI in India.
  • It also plays a significant role in countering China’s governance in the Indian Ocean Region. Moreover, it also playing a crucial role in providing naval security at the high seas which is critical for India’s oil imports. T
  • he US has a scientific edge in the areas of commerce, aerospace, defence and intelligence. Also having access to this aptitude is crucial for India.

Thus, the diplomatic relationship with the US is not only indispensable for India’s economic growth but also for its national interest.

Significance of Trump’s visit

The visit will provide an opportunity for both countries to strengthen their bilateral ties and further improve their strategic relationship. As per the Indian government officials, Trump’s visit has raised hopes that both countries will work out a limited trade deal to lessen India’s trade surplus with the US. Once at $30 billion, the surplus in India’s favour has now tightened to $16 billion.

Ahead of the visit, New Delhi is expected to commend a $2.6 billion deal for Military Helicopters named, Seahawk helicopters from US defence contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. This trip of Trump has also raised hopes that he would refurbish some of the country’s US trade inclinations, in exchange for tariff diminutions and other concessions like to lower tariffs on several goods, including Harley Davidson bikes, and withdraw the so-called retaliatory tariffs in return for the US restoring some of the GSP benefits that allowed lower-duty access for Indian products. Besides, an early agreement on medical devices such as knee implants and stents had also been worked out.

Moreover, the mission will hold meetings with Indian officials to discuss policy support for US nuclear exports to India, besides promoting US products and services to Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd and other embryonic customers, the Nuclear Energy Institute said in a statement.

Conclusion

The U.S.-India partnership has its footing in common values, including the rule of law and democratic principles.  The United States and India have shared interests in endorsing global security, stability, and economic prosperity through trade, investment, and connectivity. The United States supports India’s emergence as a foremost global power and vigorous partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity.  The strong people-to-people ties between our countries, grounded in shared values, are a remarkable source of strength for the partnership.

This visit signals an important modification in relations between the world’s two biggest democracies. Ever since the 1990s, three American administrations have tried to improve bilateral relations, with mixed results. While annual trade between the countries has soared during this period, from $20 billion to more than $100 billion, annual US-China trade is worth six times more; but the political relationship has had ups and downs.

The two countries have a long history of baffling each other. By definition, any alliance with a superpower is inadequate, so efforts to establish close ties with the United States have long run up against India’s tradition of strategic autonomy. But, the Americans do not view democratic India as a threat. On the contrary, India’s success is an important US interest, and several factors assurance a perkier future for the bilateral relationship.

Author: Charu Shekhar from Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow.

Editor: Anna Jose Kallivayalil from NLU, Delhi.

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