Indian Prime Minister State Visit to US

  • Recently, the Indian Prime Minister made an Official State visit to the United States for three days from June 21-23. He became the first Indian Prime Minister to address the US Congress twice.
PYQ: Q. What introduces friction into the ties between India and the United States is that Washington is still unable to find for India a position in its global strategy, which would satisfy India’s National self-esteem and ambitions” Explain with suitable examples. (2018)
 Key Highlights of the Visit: Technology Partnership:
  • Strengthening semiconductor supply chains: Micron Technology, with support from the India Semiconductor Mission, will invest more than $800 million toward a new $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and test facility in India.
  • Critical Minerals Partnership: India joined the US-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) to accelerate the development of sustainable critical energy minerals supply chains globally.
  • Advanced Telecommunications: India and the US have launched public-private Joint Task Forces on the development and deployment of Open RAN systems and on advanced telecoms research and development. India’s Bharat 6G and the US Next G Alliance will co-lead this public-private research.
  • NASA-ISRO Collaboration in Space: India has signed the Artemis Accords for cooperation that will enable exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
  • Quantum, Advanced Computing, and Artificial Intelligence: A Joint Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism is established to facilitate joint research between the public and private sectors.
  • Cutting-edge Research: The US National Science Foundation has announced 35 joint research collaborations with India’s Department of Science and Technology.
  • Innovation Handshake: To support the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), the US-India Commercial Dialogue will launch a new “Innovation Handshake” to connect the startup ecosystems of the two countries.
Defence Partnership:
  • GE F414 Engine Co-Production: The General Electric And Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have signed a MoU, to jointly produce the F414 jet engine in India. The first-of-its-kind initiative to manufacture F414 engines in India will enable greater transfer of US jet engine technology.
  • General Atomics MQ-9Bs Drones: India intends to procure armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAVs. The drones will increase India’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.
  • Defence “Innovation Bridge”: The India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) was inaugurated on June 21, 2023.
INDUS-X is a network of university, incubator, corporate, think tank, and private investment stakeholders.
 Promoting People-to People Ties: 
  • Domestic visa renewals: The US State Department will launch a pilot project this year to adjudicate domestic renewals of certain petition-based temporary work visas, including for Indian nationals.
  • New Consulates: The US intends to open new consulates in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, and India looks forward to opening its consulate in Seattle later this year.
Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific:
  • Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean: The US will join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi in 2015) whose objective is to promote a safe, secure, and stable maritime domain and promote its conservation and sustainable use.
  • India will continue to participate as an observer in the Partners in the Blue Pacific.
Energy Collaboration:
  • The US welcomes India’s decision to co-lead the multilateral Hydrogen Breakthrough Agenda to make affordable renewable and low carbon hydrogen globally available by 2030.
  • The US and India reiterated the call for concerted action against all UN-listed terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, and strongly condemned Pakistan for cross-border terrorism.
Background: Evolution of India and the US Relationship:
  • 1949: Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru meets with U.S. president Harry S. Truman on a multi-week tour of the United States.
  • 1963: Norman Borlaug (U.S. Agronomist) collaborated with Dr. M.S. Swaminathan resulted in the “Green Revolution”.
  • 1998: India conducted a series of nuclear tests, which led to a period of strained relations with the United States.
  • 2008: The NSG granted a waiver to the Indo-US nuclear deal, effectively ending India’s isolation from the nuclear mainstream and technology denial regime. This waiver allowed for increased collaboration in nuclear technology and trade.
  • 2010: The first U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue was convened.
  • 2016: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the US Congress, emphasizing the overcoming of historical hesitations.
  • 2023: USA hosts State Visit for PM Narendra Modi.
Areas of Cooperation between India-USA:
  • Trade and Economic Relations:
    • Growing Trade Relationship: Indo-US bilateral trade has reached a record high of $191 billion, making the US India’s largest trading partner. For the US, India is the ninth largest trading partner.
    • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): American companies have invested around $60 billion in India, while Indian companies have invested more than $40 billion in sectors such as IT, pharmaceuticals, and green energy.
    • Strategic Deals: Air India announced the purchase of more than 200 Boeing aircraft that would “support over one million American jobs.
  • Strategic Relations:
    • Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad): The Quad, comprising India, the United States, Australia, and Japan primarily serves as a counter to China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean rim and focuses on strengthening the Indo-Pacific region.
    • I2U2 Grouping: The I2U2 grouping consists of India, Israel, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates for strategic cooperation.
  • Defence Sector Cooperation:
    • 2015: India-US defence cooperation is based on “New Framework for India-US Defence Cooperation”, which was renewed for a period of ten years in 2015. 
    • 2016: The defense relationship was designated as a Major Defence Partnership (MDP).
    • 2018: India was moved into the Tier-1 of the US Department of Commerce’s Strategic Trade Authorization license exception.
    • Bilateral exercises between the countries: Yudh Abhyas (Army); Vajra Prahar (Special Forces), a tri-services exercise– Tiger Triumph (inaugurated in 2019).
  • Science and Technology Cooperation: US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies: focuses on critical and emerging technologies, aiming to enhance India’s role in the global electronics supply chain.
  • Space Cooperation: ISRO and NASA are working together to realize a joint microwave remote sensing satellite for Earth observation, named NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR).
  • Regional and International Cooperation: India and the United States cooperate closely at multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, G-20, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
    • India is also one of twelve countries partnering with the United States on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
  • Energy and Climate Change Cooperation: 
    • Under the PACE (Partnership to Advance Clean Energy), the U.S. and India have established the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC) designed to promote clean energy innovations with a total joint committed funding from both Governments of US$ 50 million.
    • In 2021, the U.S. joined the International Solar Alliance headquartered in India.
  • Civil Nuclear Cooperation: The bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in October 2008.
Challenges in the US-India relationship:
  • Export Controls and Technology Transfer: The US has significant export controls on India, which were instituted after India’s 1998 nuclear test.  These controls inhibit the free transfer of technology between the two countries.
  • Trade Issues: These include visa delays and the revoking of India’s trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program in 2019. The US has raised concerns about India’s trade policy being protectionist and the existence of entry barriers for foreign investment.
  • Oil Procurement from Russia: India’s increasing procurement of discounted crude oil from Russia has raised questions about the contradiction between India’s partnership with the US and its reliance on Russian oil.
  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF): The US may encourage India to join the trade pillar of the US-led IPEF. India has already committed to three pillars of the IPEF but has reservations about the trade pillar due to concerns related to the environment, labor, digital trade, and public procurement commitments.
  • India’s Engagement with US Adversaries: India criticized the US for blocking Iranian and Venezuelan oil sales, while actively engaging with Iran in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
  • US Criticism of India’s Democracy and Human Rights Record: US organizations and foundations, release reports questioning India’s democratic discourse, press and religious freedom, and treatment of minorities.
    • In an annual report on human rights practices in India, the US State Department has highlighted challenges to freedom of expression, cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions, extrajudicial killings in 2022.
  • Visa and Immigration Policies: Changes in visa and immigration policies, such as restrictions on H-1B visas, can impact the movement of professionals and students between India and the US.
  • Poor enforcement of IPR: India continues to remain on the United States (US) ‘Priority Watch List’ for alleged violations of intellectual property rights (IPR). The United States Trade Representative (USTR) in its report identified 11 countries, including India, on its ‘Priority Watch List’
Way Forward:
  • India’s Balancing Act Between Russia and the US: With the Ukraine-Russia conflict, global powers are realigning. India faces the delicate task of maintaining a balance between Russia and the US.
    • India should focus on its national interests while promoting dialogue and diplomacy to resolve differences.
  • Strengthening Asian Balance of Power: The India-US defence partnership helps ensure a balanced Asia and bridges India’s military capabilities gap with China, addressing China’s assertiveness in Asia.
  • Boosting Economic Engagement: Increasing investment and trade flows between India and the US is crucial for economic growth, market access, and technological cooperation. The India-US iCET initiative is a positive step.
  • Cooperation in Sustainable Development: Initiatives like the US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership facilitate renewable energy deployment and assist India in achieving its climate goals.
  • Diversification of Supply Chains: Diversification of supply chains away from China creates opportunities for India.
  • India must reorient its trade policy to take advantage of the increasingly popular China-plus-one strategy.
China-Plus-One refers to a strategy in which companies avoid investing only in China and diversify their businesses to alternative destinations.
  • Strategic Partnership in the Indo-Pacific: The U.S. and India share a common interest in maintaining stability and countering challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. Their partnership, along with other Quad Forum partners (Australia and Japan), aims to promote a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
Additional Information: About State Visit:
  • State visits are visits to foreign countries led by a head of state/government, acting in their sovereign capacity.
  • State Visits to the US only occur on the invitation of the President of the United States, acting in their capacity as the head of state.
  • State visits are the highest-ranked category of foreign visits with great ceremonial importance and are considered to be the highest expression of friendly bilateral relations.
 News Source: The Indian Express

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