[Answered] Track the recent developments in India-US relations. What are various issues in India-US relations?

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Recent initiatives and trend in India-US relation with various issues. Conclusion. Way forward.

At present, India and the US share an extensive cultural, strategic, military, and economic relationship. After the decades of trust deficit which have plagued the relationship between India and US, relations has achieved new heights and deepness.

Key recent developments in India-US relations:

  1. Growth of bilateral trade: Bilateral trade between both the countries is increased. It was fostered by closer ties between the Indian and American industries especially in the Information and communications technology (ICT), engineering and medical sectors. The US is India’s second largest trading partner, and India is its 9th largest trading partner. In 2017, the US exported $25.7 billion worth of goods to India, and imported $48.6 billion worth of Indian goods.
  2. Boost in Economic Relations: The United States is India’s largest investment partner, with a direct investment of $10 billion (9% of total foreign investment). In 2018, India became the third Asian nation to be granted Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) status by the United States. STA-1 enables the export of high-technology products in civil space and defence from the US to India. Us has also eased export controls over dual-use goods & technologies and reversed the long-standing American opposition to India’s strategic program.
  3. Cooperation on counter-terrorism: US is one of many nations that support India in counter-terrorism. Over the year U.S. has reduced economic and strategic support to Pakistan especially after Osama bin laden killing.  
  4. Increased diaspora: Indian diaspora in America over the years have increased. It has contributed to income creation in the USA through knowledge-based employment and also to Indian economic growth through remittance. Growing financial and political clout of the affluent Asian Indian diaspora is noteworthy. Indian American households are the most prosperous in the US.
  5. Strategic and Defence Relations: The U.S. has four “foundational” agreements that it signs with its defence partners. India have signed the three agreements so far.
    • The General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), was signed by India and the U.S. in 2002. The agreement enables the sharing of military intelligence between the two countries and requires each country to protect the others’ classified information.
    • The second agreement, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), was signed by the two countries on 29 August 2016. The LEMOA permits the military of either country to use the others’ bases for re-supplying or carrying out repairs.
    • The third agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) was signed during the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in September 2018. It is an India-specific variant of Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) that enables the two countries to share secure communication and exchange information on approved equipment during bilateral and multinational training exercises and operations.
    • The fourth agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) has not yet been signed.
  6. Other initiatives: Various initiatives were announced including a US-India economic dialogue, fight Against HIV/AIDS, disaster relief, technology cooperation, an agriculture knowledge initiative, a trade policy forum, energy dialogue, CEO Forum, and an initiative to assist each other in furthering democracy and freedom. In 2019, India and the US signed an agreement to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation including the construction of six American nuclear reactors in India.

Issues between India-US relations:

  1. Trade: Recently India and US confronted each other regarding tariffs and protectionist policies. US has continuously accused India of high tariffs and India have accused USA of restriction to US markets and high tariffs on Indian products.
  2. Intellectual Property Rights: US has continuously criticised India for its IPR policies. It has accused India of acting against Intellectual properties of major companies especially pharmaceutical over generic drugs.
  3. Continuous support to Pakistan: Although US has reduced support to Pakistan, it has still provided monetary support to Pakistan. Major support by US is due to Afghanistan. In February 2016, the Obama administration notified the US Congress that it intended to provide Pakistan eight nuclear-capable F-16 fighters and assorted military goods including eight despite strong reservations from US lawmakers regarding the transfer of any nuclear weapons capable platforms to Pakistan.
  4. Relations with Russia: US is all time rival of Russia. While India is all time friend of Russia. Russia has always supported India in international platform. It helped India to develop its defence capabilities. In 2018, India inked the historic agreement worth with Russia to procure four S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system, the most powerful missile defence system in the world ignoring America’s CAATSA act. The U.S. threatened India with sanctions over India’s decision to buy the S-400 missile defense system from Russia.
  5. Relations with Iran: US has put sanctions on Iran due to its nuclear development. India has strategic interest in Iran to buy oil. India has continuously bought oil from Iran despite of US sanctions on Iran. The United States threatened India with sanctions over India’s decision to buy oil from Iran. But recently it exempted India from sanctions that allowed India to buy oil from Iran.

Recognising India as a key to its strategic interests, the United States has sought to strengthen its relationship with India. The two countries are the world’s largest democracies, and both are committed to political freedom protected by representative government. The US and India have a common interest in the free flow of commerce and resources, including through the vital sea lanes of the Indian Ocean. In recent years, India and US relations are deepened.