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Modi’s U.S Visit on Cards: Opportunities and Obstacles

Context:

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first meeting with American President Donald J. Trump is scheduled on 26th June, 2017.
  • The meet is expected to set the agenda for strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership.

What can we expect from the meeting?

  • The US has emerged as a top arms supplier to India and both the countries will be looking to move forward with deals such as unarmed drones that India plans to buy for it navy
  • India is expected to raise the issue of H-1B visas for highly skilled foreigners that US companies are allowed to hire abroad and at home, which have come under close scrutiny by the Trump administration. The restriction on H1-B visa is a major setback for Indian IT professionals in America.
  • Combating terrorism, which has been President Trump’s one of the most important agenda is also expected to be discussed.
  • Issues relating to bilateral trade are also expected to be addressed.
  • According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in its recent submission to the U.S. government stated that during 2011-2015, India’s contribution to the overall trade deficit of the U.S. was only 2.5% (average).
  • India’s share in overall U.S. trade deficit is too insignificant to cause any adverse impact on the U.S. economy which requires to be mended as soon as possible.

Challenges for the meeting

India –US relationship in 2016 has been in jeopardy with various issues ushering in.

  • Combating terror-
  • The travel ban on designated countries symbolizes President Trump’s extreme antagonism towards the Islamic world.
  • The stated reason for the ban was terrorism. However, Pakistan, from where most of the exodus of terrorism is sourced from, has been excluded from the ban.
  • Trump’s visit to Saudi Arab, where he gave many Muslim majority countries a lecture on terrorism, has also been questioned.
  • With Modi’s visit on cards, India’s concerns over cross-border terrorism are not likely to get a sympathetic hearing in the meeting.
  • ‘America first’ approach v/s ‘Make in India’
  • Trump’s business interests in India were expected to improve bilateral ties.
  • However, Trump’s ‘America first’ approach may contradict with ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives.
  • Even co-designing and co-production of defence equipment, which formed the core stone of India-US bilateral relation, might face a setback.
  • Free Movement of Professionals
  • Through an executive order, Trump has sought a comprehensive review of the visa system to make sure it is used to hire “most-skilled and highest-paid applicants” and did not cause the loss of jobs for Americans.
  • India accounts for the highest pool of qualified IT professionals, whose services go a long way in making American companies globally competitive.
  • Replacing Indian IT professionals with American ones will only hurt the U.S.’s business interests.
  • The issue will be one of most important topic to be discussed in the meeting. a setback on this issue may sour bilateral relations.
  • Paris Climate Accord
  • The US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and Trump’s harsh remarks on India has been largely criticised.
  • However, Indian officials have commented that climate change might not figure prominently in the discussions with President Trump.

India-US Relations- The Way Ahead

  • Opportunities- There are opportunities for further cooperation in fields of bilateral trade, energy cooperation, combating terrorism, defence cooperation, immigration issue, in health and education sector, space technology.
  • Obstacles-
  • Domestic obstacles in India are a major setback to India-US ties. There are people who stress on the impossibility of an equal relationship between the world’s two largest democracies. Another group states that a very close relationship with the US could be counterproductive, as it would require India to neglect its own core interests.
  • Interests of India and the US often do not go hand in hand on issues such as climate change adaptation, outsourcing, nuclear energy, genetically modified food, opening-up of services, agriculture, and retail-market sectors.

Above part is the editorial part: current

Below is the static part

India-US Relations- Past to Present

Background There wasn’t a cordial relationship between India and USA post Indian independence and until the end of the Cold War. This was mainly due to US’s inclination to Pakistan and India’s policy of being not alignedwith either the US or the Soviet Union, but maintaining close ties with the latter. Even after the Cold War, India … Continue reading “India-US Relations- Past to Present”

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