After many years of strained political bonds, India and the U.S. governments are presently pursuing a ‘strategic partnership’ based on various shared values, overlapping interests, and improved trade and economic relations. Many companies in the U.S. see India as a productive market and an appropriate candidate for foreign investment. So, for its part, the Indian government views itself persisting economic reforms began in 1991, aimed at altering a quasi-socialist economy into an open market and market-oriented economy. Though, the U.S. government is alarmed that the economic reforms of India are progressing very slowly and unevenly too.
India-USA economic and trade relations
- Both countries have committed to facilitate actions necessary for escalating the bilateral trade to $500 billion.
- The U.S. is one of the largest sources of foreign direct investments in India and Indian companies also invest in the USA (pharmaceuticals, software, etc).
- India-USA bilateral trade in goods and services increased from $104 billion in 2014 to $114 billion in 2016.
- There are several dialogue mechanisms to fortify bilateral engagement on economic and trade issues, including a Ministerial level Economic and Financial Partnership for greater involvement of the private sector in the discussions on issues involving trade and investment, there is a bilateral India-USA CEO’s Forum.
- India and the US have instituted a bilateral Investment Initiative in 2014, with a special focus on facilitating FDI, portfolio investment, capital market development, and financing of infrastructure. US firms will be lead partners in developing Allahabad, Ajmer, and Vishakhapatnam as Smart Cities.
- USAID will serve as a knowledge partner for the Urban India Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) alliance to help leverage business and civil society (Gates Foundation) to facilitate access to clean water, hygiene, and sanitation in 500 Indian cities
- Among large Indian corporations having investments in the U.S. include Reliance Industries Limited, Piramal, Tata Consultancy Services, Mahindra, Essar America, Wipro, Lupin, Sun Pharma, etc. There are several dialogue mechanisms to strengthen bilateral engagement on economic and trade issues, including a Ministerial Level Economic and Financial Partnership and a Ministerial Trade Policy Forum.
India – USA vision of 500 Billion $ trade
India and the US need to undertake a study to assess the feasibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) and undertake a cost-benefit analysis, a report by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the US India Business Council (USIBC) suggested, when leaders of the two nations held talks and agreed to work towards a ‘tremendous trade deal’.
The two groups also suggested that the US consider exempting India from its extra steel and aluminum tariffs, and also extending a waiver from its sanctions for buying oil from Iran and Venezuela. In a report that recommended intervention in over a dozen areas to take annual bilateral trade to $500 billion by 2030 from close to $143 billion in 2018, the two bodies stated: “A comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement would reduce tariffs (custom/import duties) which could lead to an FTA further down the road. An FTA between India and the US would have wide-ranging ramifications for the domestic industries, and a clear cost-benefit analysis would be required to estimate its total impact.”
The interventions recommended by the report include reinstating duty-free exports from India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) of the US, reducing import duties on high-end American motorcycles like Harley Davidson to 0% from 50%, drumming up a consensus on a pricing mechanism for medical devices, modifications in India’s e-commerce policy, eliminating high tariffs on steel & aluminum imports by the US and nurturing greater cooperation in strengthening partnership in aerospace and defence. But to see a doubling and tripling of the trade relationship, the two countries must work out a trade deal that can open markets in both directions.”
Engagement on Energy and Climate Change:
The U.S.-India Energy Dialogue was launched in May 2005 to promote trade and investment in the energy sector. There are six working groups:
- Oil & gas
- Civil nuclear co-operation
- Power and energy efficiency
- New technologies& renewable energy
- Sustainable development under the Energy Dialogue.
Investment by Indian companies like Reliance, Essar, and GAIL in the U.S. natural gas market is ushering in a new age of India-U.S. energy partnership. The U.S. Department of Energy has so far given its approval for export of LNG from seven liquefaction terminals in the U.S., to countries with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement (FTA) - with two of these five terminals, the Indian public sector entity, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has offtaken agreements, the Government of India have established the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC) designed to promote clean energy innovations.
India and the U.S. are progressing cooperation and dialogue on climate change through a high-level Climate Change Working Group and a Joint Working Group on Hydrofluorocarbon. A new U.S.-India Partnership for ‘Climate Resilience’ has been agreed to, in order to advance capacity for climate adaptation planning, as also a new U.S.India Climate Fellowship Program to build long-term capacity to address climate change-related issues. To further collaboration in the area of climate change and clean energy, the two sides announced the finalization of a package to provide concessional finance to support clean energy projects on track and to coordinate U.S. Government efforts on clean energy investment in India jointly with leading Indian financial institutions, and to provide liquidity to small scale renewable energy investors.
Even though India is committed to the Environment protection cause under Paris climate change 2015, but USA changed a line after Trump becoming President. The USA is reluctant to adhere to the Paris meeting commitment instead want to promote fossil fuel consumption and production. While Western block committed to 100billion $ fund, technology transfer, and carbon reduction. But western countries don’t show interest and even unwilling to share technology that promotes green technology on the pretext of Intellectual property protection. But India ready to follow the 2015 Paris meeting in letter and spirit and the International solar alliance meeting is an example of India's commitment to the environment and humanity.
India is learning from the U.S. experience in community colleges in order to meet our demands for skill-development. It has been agreed to team up with U.S. institutions in the area of Technology Enabled Learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to extend the reach of education in India. Under the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) launched by India, up to 1000 American academics will be invited each year to teach in Indian universities at their convenience. The two sides are also collaborating to launch a new Indian Institute of Technology in Ahmedabad.
A bilateral Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation provides a forum for discussion on joint activities in space, including
- L&S band SAR;
- Cooperation on Mars mission;
- OCM2, INSAT3D collaboration;
- Carbon /ecosystem monitoring and modeling;
- Feasibility of collaboration in radio occultation:
- Earth Science Cooperation:
- International space station;
- Global navigation satellite systems;
- Exchange of scientists;
- Space exploration cooperation;
- Space debris mediation.
Mission Chandrayaan-2 pronunciation is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after Chandrayaan-1. It consisted of a lunar orbiter, the Pragyan lunar rover, and the Vikram lander, all of which were developed in India. The main scientific objective is to map and study the variations in lunar surface composition, as well as the abundance and location of lunar water.
The spacecraft was launched on its mission to the Moon from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on 22 July 2019 at 2.43 PM IST (09:13 UTC) by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III). The craft reached the Moon's orbit on 20 August 2019 and started orbital positioning manoeuvres for the landing of the Vikram lander. Vikram and the rover were scheduled to land on the near side of the Moon, in the south polar region at a latitude of about 70° south at approximately 20:23 UTC on September, 6, 2019 and conduct scientific experiments for one lunar day, which approximates two Earth weeks.
Although, the lander deviated from its intended trajectory starting at 2.1 kilometers (1.3 mi) altitude, and had lost communication when touchdown confirmation was anticipated. NASA helped ISRO to locate Vikram but they got unsuccessful to establish communication with the lander. The orbiter, part of the mission with eight scientific instruments, remains operational and is anticipated to continue its seven-year mission to study the Moon.
Science & Technology (S&T):
The India-U.S. S&T cooperation has been steadily growing under the framework of the U.S.-India Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement signed in October 2005. There is an Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Joint Commission, co-chaired by the Science Advisor to U.S. President and Indian Minister of S&T. The U.S. attended as the partner country at the Technology Summit 2014 at New Delhi.
In 2000, both the governments endowed the India-U.S. Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) to aid mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in science, engineering, and health. The U.S.-India Science & Technology Endowment Fund, established in 2009, under the Science and Technology Endowment Board promotes the commercialization of jointly developed innovative technologies with the potential for positive societal impact.
Collaboration between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has been strengthened under the 2008 MOU on Earth Observations and Earth Sciences. A "monsoon desk" has been setup at the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction. India's contribution of $250 million towards the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT)Project in Hawaii and Indian Initiative in Gravitational Observations (IndiGO) with U.S. LIGO Laboratory are examples of collaboration to create world-class research facilities.
Under the 2010 U.S.-India Health Initiative, four working groups have been organized in the areas of :
- Infectious Diseases
- Maternal and Child Health
- Non-Communicable Diseases
- Strengthening Health Systems and Services
U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and India's Department of Biotechnology have developed a strong connection in the biomedical and behavioral health sciences, research related to HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, hearing disorders, eye disease, diabetes, mental health, and low-cost medical technologies. In the first meeting of the Health Dialogue in September 2015 in Washington DC, both sides agreed to collaborate institutionally in the new areas of mental health and regulatory and capacity-building aspects of traditional medicine.
The United States Chamber of Commerce industry analyzing intellectual property protection in 50 countries, as a preface to the annual US government list of countries seen as not adequately protecting US companies’ IP rights. USTR repeatedly urge India to make laws that shield pharma companies' interest so that they could innovate and R&D in new life-saving drugs and devices. USTR not happy with Indian regulation which cut drug prices, on the other hand, the Indian govt stated that its position in line with WIPO guidelines and serves the public interest. Poor need cheap drugs for better health which is also according to the development goal (2015-30). United States Trade Representative (USTR) keep India on the Priority Watch List.
It appears highly likely that in strategic, security, political, defence, and economic terms, relations between India and the USA will continue their upward path with the USA administration. The impact of the USA’s relations with Pakistan over India is likely to be beneficial. Geopolitical manoeuvres can have a significant impact on India-USA relations, though, it would remain to be multi-faceted and an “indispensable partnership”