[op-ed snap] India must oppose surging protectionism

source

Note4Students:

The crux of the op-ed: India should aggressively voice its concern about increasing restrictions on the movement of professionals at both bilateral and multilateral forums.

This op-ed has a few points on protectionist policies and a very cogent analysis on FDI vs. Delhi’s reaction on VISA restrictions. Indo-US diplomacy sure is a grey area to tread and make sense of.

Link this op-ed to the UPSC mains syllabus paper 2 i.e. “Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.”

Since it talks about how Visa policy of USA (a developed nation) is hurting India’s IT sector(India’s interest). Also fodder from this op-ed could be used while writing answer on topic of strains/issues in the relationship between India and USA.

Or Question can be asked in a format like “Which Factors are inhibiting close relationship between India and USA”. In Prelims question can be asked from this topic on different types of Visa.


Context:

  1. India’s second largest IT company Infosys Ltd has announced that it will hire 10,000 Americans over the next two years
  2. This comes after the US administration’s criticism that Indian technology companies are taking jobs away from Americans

Work visa program:

  1. The US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to review the H-1B visa programme
  2. Indian IT companies earn the bulk of their revenue from the US market and are big beneficiaries of the work visa programme
  3. Legislation has also been introduced in the US House of Representatives, aiming to double the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000 per annum

Opinions on H-1B:

  1. Critics argue that the programme has been used by Indian outsourcing companies to bring in cheap labour
  2. This hurts American workers both in terms of employment and income
  3. Supporters are of the view that the programme attracts required skills and helps US firms remain competitive
  4. The bigger question that US policymakers should address is that will increasing the cost of hiring foreign workers and raising wages make American firms more competitive?

Protectionist measures:

  1. The overhaul of the visa programme is part of a wider protectionist agenda of the Trump administration, which has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and intends to renegotiate existing trade deals
  2. Australia and New Zealand have also made movement of professionals difficult
  3. The UK has tightened visa norms

What Delhi is planning:

  1. Union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently hinted at counter moves against US companies operating in India

Benefits of FDI:

  1. Any retaliatory action against companies from the US will affect the confidence of international investors and will bode ill for the economy in the medium-to-long run
  2. FDI not only creates jobs but also has a spillover impact in terms of knowledge transfer, which helps increase productivity in general
  3. India has gained significantly after opening up its economy in 1991 and there is no reason why it should not take the process forward

The way forward: 

Indian policymakers should avoid taking such measures for multiple reasons

  1. First, Indian IT services companies have themselves to blame in part at least for not realizing in time that the labour-cost arbitrage model has limitations
  2. Second, the US is not the only country which is making movement of professionals difficult
  3. Third, India needs foreign direct investment (FDI) to fund its growth
  4. The Narendra Modi government has done well to liberalize FDI rules in various sectors, which has resulted in a significant surge in foreign investments
  5. Rather than replying in kind, India should aggressively voice its concern against increasing restrictions on the movement of professionals at both bilateral and multilateral forums
  6. Global leaders did well to avoid protectionist policies in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis
  7. India should play an active role in reviving a similar global consensus through multilateral forums as rising protectionism will have implications for global trade and growth

Back2Basics:

All you need to know about FATCA: Deadline, procedure and details

Note4Students:

Important. FATCA, LEMOA are some of the agreements between India and USA which have been a buzzword for long. FATCA also becomes important in light of demonetisation whose primary aim was to eliminate cash black money holdings and FATCA is also having its objective related to targeting illegal money held abroad.

Ignore all details related to dates. Focus on the main policy level pointers.


  1. Your bank account and other financial transactions like mutual funds need to be compliant with The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Non-compliance would lead to blocking of accounts

What is FATCA?

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a United States federal law that requires United States persons, including U.S. citizens who live outside the United States, to report their financial accounts held outside of the U.S., and requires foreign financial institutions to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about their U.S. clients

Why is FATCA compliance necessary in India?

  1. India had signed an agreement with the U.S. on July 9, 2015 which enables automatic exchange of financial information between India and the U.S.
  2. The agreement provides that Indian Financial Institutions will provide the necessary information to the Indian tax authority i.e. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which information will then be transmitted to the U.S. automatically in the case of FATCA
  3. Which financial transactions need FATCA compliance? The compliance is needed for bank accounts, mutual fund, national pension scheme and other such transactions.

 

Back2Basics:

Good time to revisit major Indo-Us MoUs, right? A lot has flown under the bridge across many categories – Military, business, Education etc. [If you would remember we had a question on SWAYAM – Indo-US education related policy agreement in previous year’s prelims]

Click2read – India, US defence ties – What are LSA, CISMOA and BECA agreements?

Logistics pact with U.S. ‘almost done’

  1. What: In just about two days, India is expected to notify the operationalising of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S.
  2. The notification includes designating the points of contact for the U.S. military to work with and setting up a common account for payments. The U.S., which has similar agreements with several countries, has already notified the details
  3. After the notification, the U.S. is expected to formally ratify the agreement which will then operationalise the pact
  4. Previously: India and the U.S. concluded the logistics agreement, the first of the three foundational agreements between the two nations, last August
  5. However, its implementation has been delayed, as India was unable to streamline administrative procedures to enable its operationalisation
  6. LEMOA gives access to both countries to designated military facilities on either side for refuelling and replenishment in primarily four areas — port calls, joint exercises, training and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
  7. The other foundational agreements: Are the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Information and Services Cooperation (BECA)
  8. Several U.S. officials had stated in the past that the agreements were required for taking forward high-technology cooperation forward
  9. Meanwhile, discussions are under way on the next one — the COMSCA — as the BECA is considered the trickiest of the three with India expressing serious reservations about the clauses as well as the need for it

Note4students:

All these agreements have been in the news frequently. Revise your notes on them for prelims. Or read about them here.

Asian economies escape “manipulator” tag, but expect more pressure on trade

  1. Asian countries escaped the currency manipulator label in the latest U.S. Treasury report
  2. But remain wary of possible trade friction as President Donald Trump maintains his administration will seek to address trade imbalances
  3. Mr. Trump has said some U.S. trading partners, particularly China, manipulated their currency, but has since backed off that claim and acknowledged that China had not weakened the yuan to make its exports cheaper
  4. China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan remained on a list for special monitoring of currency practices, China by virtue of a massive trade-surplus with the United States

Note4students:

Not directly important for exam but can be used in mains answer and important for understanding international economic and trade scenario.

Sikhs launch campaign to spread awareness about Sikhism

  1. A month-long ‘We are Sikhs’ campaign has been launched in US, coinciding with the Sikh festival of ‘Vaisakhi’, a holy day for the community
  2. By: The National Sikh Campaign (NSC), a non-profit organisation
    Aim: To spread awareness of the Sikh religion as over 65 % of Americans are ignorant about Sikhism.
  3. To address the “collective misunderstanding” over the minority community amid a spike in hate crimes against them in the country
  4. The campaign is a national effort to help inform our fellow Americans about who we are and why we are proud to wear the turban, a symbol of our community’s commitment to equality and serving others
  5. The campaign would involve marketing and public relation efforts that will focus on increasing the Sikh-American community’s presence in national and local news outlets, online platforms and neighbourhoods
  6. It will utilise national and local television and cable and digital advertisements, social media and community events to affect change
  7. The Sikh community has been the target of discrimination, intimidation, harassment and hate crimes since the 9/11 terror attacks largely because of a “collective misunderstanding” of what the turban means in the Sikh faith
  8. Sikh-Americans have been making positive and significant contributions to American life for more than a century
  9. They run local businesses and sing their national anthem with pride

Note4students:

Important for prelims especially as India is celebrating 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singhji.

[op-ed snap] When Trump meets Xi

Context:

  1. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to meet this week at Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida
  2. The story of the unlikely turnaround of Sino-US relations from a head-on collision into a grand bargain comes with a special twist

Reports from Washington:

  1. The Chinese have opened a productive channel of negotiation with Trump’s influential son-in-law, Jared Kushner
  2. Kushner has apparently taken charge of America’s most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century

Trump and China:

  1. Few countries invited the kind of wrath that China did during Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016
  2. Candidate Trump accused China of raping the American economy and stealing its jobs
  3. He had promised to impose massive tariffs on the import of goods from China
  4. If China wanted to call it a “trade war”, Trump seemed to say, “so be it”

Taken a step back:

  1. Although Trump has held back from taking those extreme economic steps until now, he surprised Beijing by departing from the well-established “One China” policy of the United States by taking a congratulatory call from the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen
  2. Trump seemed to reverse himself by reaffirming the One China policy in a telephonic conversation with President Xi
  3. There were signs of further thaw during Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to China last month
  4. Tillerson publicly endorsed the Chinese terms for a productive relationship with the United States — “no-conflict, no-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation”

Expectations from the Florida summit:

  1. Predictions of a train wreck to a sweeping agreement that could turn global politics inside out
  2. The uncertainty stems in part from the very different diplomatic style of the two leaders
  3. Xi does not like surprises and would want all outcomes pre-scripted
  4. If Chinese leaders excel at bringing relentless pressure and purpose to their diplomacy, Trump is impulsive and revels in brinkmanship
  5. Recall Trump’s refusal to shake hands in front of the cameras with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, at their meeting last month
  6. On the day the Florida summit was announced, Trump tweeted that the talks with Xi would be “very difficult” and that the US “can no longer have massive trade deficits”

Trouble in Washington:

  1. In Washington, Trump is having trouble settling down to govern effectively
  2. His bold attempt at repealing the healthcare legislation he inherited from his predecessor, Barack Obama, ended in failure amidst opposition from his own Republican Party
  3. In Beijing, Xi has consolidated his hold over the Chinese Communist Party, but would not want to be seen as having been insulted or shortchanged in any way in the run-up to the party’s 19th Congress later this year
  4. The quinquennial gathering is all set to confer a second term for Xi at the helm of the party-state in Beijing

A general outline:

  1. Trump’s main focus is on reducing the trade deficit with China and creating jobs in America
  2. Xi could announce impressive commitments on future Chinese investments in America, promise more market access for American goods and agree to address the US corporate concerns about Chinese theft of intellectual property and cyber security
  3. Xi, in turn, will want Trump to reaffirm the One China policy, agree to respect Beijing’s primacy in the Asia Pacific, and lift US high-technology sanctions
  4. The two sides could also agree to work together in resolving the North Korean problem, and outline a set of cooperative measures on regional and global issues

Why does it concern India?

  1. Whatever the outcome from the Florida summit, the first diplomatic encounter between Trump and Xi is bound to set the tone for Asian geopolitics in the near term
  2. India, like most other Asian nations, wants neither a confrontation nor a collusion between America and China
  3. But if Delhi and other leading regional capitals see America cutting a deal with China at the expense of Asia, they will have no option but to start re-doing their strategic sums

Note4Students:

Keep track of the developments. All such developments having bearing on India are important for prelims as well as mains.

U.S. criticises India for rights abuses

  1. Source: ‘Human Rights Practices in India for 2016’, a U.S. State Department report
  2. Issues highlighted: Alleged human rights violations, citing the police case against activist Teesta Setalvad
  3. Encounter killing of eight suspected SIMI activists in Madhya Pradesh
  4. Restrictions on foreign funding of NGOs, including some whose views the government believed were not in the “national or public interest”
  5. Female genital mutilation
  6. Dowry-related deaths

Note4students:

The report is by a US State Dept and may not find acceptance with Indian line of thinking. This is just to be aware of the happenings around.

[op-ed snap] Prejudice makes no distinction

Context:

  1. Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas, Harnish Patel in South Carolina, and Deep Rai in Washington, all well settled Indians in America, were shot at in a span of three weeks resulting in two deaths
  2. The words repeatedly used by their assailants were, “go back where you came from”
  3. While these are the most visible cases of attacks against Indian-Americans, the harassment of the community is far more pervasive since Donald Trump took office as U.S President

Other instances:

  1. A girl in Maryland being told by a co-worker that she will have to go back where she came from, if she was not a citizen (she is)
  2. Another person detained by the local police for ‘suspicious appearance’ and for not carrying an identification (she was simply taking a walk in her neighbourhood as she has done for years)
  3. This has shaken the Indian-American community to its core

Faulty terms of engagement?

  1. For the longest time, we were proud to declare that Indian Americans were the true success story in the U.S.
  2. Even as a relatively young immigrant group (87.2% being foreign born) at 1% of the population (around 3 million), we could claim to have the highest per capita income ($88,000 median household income compared to all U.S. median at $49,800) and highest levels of education (70% of those age 25 and older with college degrees, two-and-a-half times the figure for overall population) of any ethnic group
  3. We could boast that Indians had truly arrived in America, as prominent writers, business leaders, academics, and even policymakers
  4. We lived and breathed the so-called American dream; we bought expensive homes in American suburbs, sent our children to the best universities and reaped the benefits of the American system
  5. But, by and large, we didn’t engage in the messy issues of civil rights, political participation, or racism. We thought these were not our issues

Remaining attached to the roots:

  1. Indian-Americans remained attached to their country of origin, going back and forth frequently, contributing to local causes
  2. Some of them also got very active in the politics of our homeland, especially when it came to right-wing Hindu causes
  3. Like other immigrants, they nostalgically longed to hold on to our sense of belonging in the old country while moving forward with our lives in the adopted country
  4. Secure with a successful American experience, they took the American part of their hyphenated identity for granted

Where did the problem lie?

  1. Indian-Americans did not strengthen their roots in America
  2. They were not getting involved enough in the civic organisations in America
  3. They were not engaging enough in the American issues of the day
  4. In the age of Trump, this is no longer just a good idea. Now the stakes have become dangerously high and the need visibly urgent

Revival of racism?

  1. While the White House, including the President, continues to deny any relationship between the rhetoric and policies of the new government and the unprecedented spike in hate speech and hate crimes against South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Jewish communities, the truth is that the Trump presidency has emboldened latent racist and ultra-right nativist elements to come out in the open
  2. This has to be the real wake-up call for the Indian-American community
  3. During the election, a group of Indians, calling themselves “Hindus for Trump,” tried to make a distinction between themselves and other Indians, especially Muslim Indian-Americans, and other brown-skinned people, suggesting that they were different, that they should not be confused with Muslims and, therefore, should not be targeted
  4. As political scientist Sangay Mishra has pointed out, such an approach shows real ignorance about the fundamental dynamics of racism — treating all people of a particular colour or ethnicity as an undifferentiated mass, “erasing individuality, distinctiveness and humanity”
  5. It is time for this well-to-do community to recognise that criminals who commit hate crimes are indiscriminate
  6. As we know from the assailants of the three Indian victims, they confused their target for Iranians and Arab Americans, or Muslims
  7. It didn’t matter that all three of them were well-to-do, living in comfortably prosperous communities

The road ahead:

  1. It’s time Indian-Americans joined hands with all Americans who suffer from racial, ethnic or social prejudice, Muslims, Arabs, African-Americans, Latinos or the LGBT community
  2. The community should welcome new immigrants eager to make a new life

Note4Students:

The op-ed throws light on changing situations for the Indian diaspora in America. The points here can be of use for Essay writing and may be a part of your Mains answer too. “Diaspora” is mentioned in GS-2 syllabus.

No immediate changes in H-1B programme: White House

  1. There will be no changes in the H-1B visa programme for skilled temporary foreign workers before this year’s selection process kicks off on April 1
  2. The U.S. admits 85,000 people on H-1B visas every year, through a lottery process that begins with the filing of applications on April 1

Note4students:

H-1B issue is a long drawn one as many other international issues. Keep track of the development.

Trump admin has a positive view of Indo-US ties: Jaishankar

  1. Context: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s views after his US visit
  2. India does not expect any conflict between its ‘Make in India programme’ and U.S President Donald Trump’s push for expanding manufacturing in America
  3. Overall sense is that the administration has a very positive view of India and India-US relations
  4. We saw a lot of goodwill and interest in taking this relation forward
  5. Economic cooperation: Every country would like to take steps that would be in the best interest of their economy and the way the global economy works is that countries reconcile those through an international trading system
  6. If there is more robust growth in America, it can offer opportunity here
  7. H-1B visa: If the Trump administration wants to bring more companies and investments to the country and America grows, that growing America needs this partnership
  8. We have certainly made our point forcefully
  9. US: There is a recognition in the administration, of the contribution of Indians in the tech sector
  10. This is not a priority in the immigration debate at the moment for the administration, and when it comes up, it will be addressed as part of the broader immigration package

 

[op-ed snap] What ‘America First’ means for India

India-U.S. relations:

  1. Many policymakers and observers in Washington DC see India-U.S. relations as a case of American generosity
  2. By extension, a section of the U.S. establishment has always argued for extracting more in return from India

Slogans to policies:

  1. Trump’s personality has two parts — the transactional and the ideological
  2. The transactional Mr. Trump believes that all international relations are based on give and take, that there is something to be gained or lost from each individual interaction with a global partner
  3. There is no larger moral goal to be pursued, such as promotion of democracy, free market or human rights, slogans that explained, justified or even disguised American involvement with the world for several decades now
  4. The ideological Mr. Trump sees the world as one in which Islam is threatening the existence of the Judeo-Christian civilization
  5. So there are alliances to be built and wars to be fought to secure the survival of the U.S. and Israel, of Christianity and Judaism, which he believes are threatened by Islamist terror
  6. The choreography of the inauguration and the measures he has taken as President all indicate that such slogans that defined his campaign will turn into policies
  7. No measure is too extreme in pursuing that objective of countering Islamism, as demonstrated by the attempted ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries
  8. Trump would be open to dealing with India with an ideological frame of reference and a pragmatic, transactional one, simultaneously

Points of friction:

  1. At the ideological level, the defeat of Islamism could be a common ground between Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who too has both ideological and pragmatic streaks
  2. But a likely point of ideological friction could be the Modi government’s continuing crackdown on U.S.-based Christian charities operating in India
  3. Dealing with Mr. Trump’s transactional mode could pose another set of challenges
  4. Both Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump have pivoted their politics on a hybrid of religious identity and the promise of economic betterment, defined more precisely as job creation
  5. But they could be competing for the same thing here
  6. The growth of bilateral cooperation in recent decades has involved a movement of U.S. jobs to India, and of Indian workers to the U.S
  7. Bilateral cooperation continues on autopilot in numerous areas such as cyber security, intelligence sharing, space, disease control, maritime surveillance, agriculture, education and climate change

Pressure on H-1B:

  1. On the temporary movement of Indian workers to the U.S. under the H-1B programme, the Trump administration has been clear that it will end its “misuse”
  2. The business model of Indian IT giants such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro is based on their ability to locate a crucial part of their workforce in the U.S. who in turn support the operation of jobs carried out in India
  3. In recent years, partly in response to the political resistance to offshoring of services in the U.S., these companies have increasingly hired Americans in their local workforce
  4. So a crackdown on H-1B visas may not necessarily affect such companies, which will be able to function by hiring Americans in America to support the bulk of the operations that are in India
  5. Anti-H-1B campaigners have changed their focus, to the business model, and away from the guest workers

Defence Sector:

  1. The Trump administration will be willing to carry forward the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in defence
  2. The Obama administration has all but cleared the sale of 22 Guardian unarmed drones to be used for maritime domain awareness, and the new administration is likely to complete the process
  3. The Trump administration is also willing to go a step further and favourably look at India’s pending request for Avenger armed drones
  4. After being designated a major defence partner by the Obama administration, India’s requests for high technology are now considered with a ‘presumption of approval’ as opposed to ‘presumption of denial’

What will Mr. Trump want in return?

  1. Trump might want India to openly partner with, or even be frontline in tackling, China, according to one view
  2. During his recent visit to Delhi, Admiral Harry Harris, the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) chief, reiterated a long pending demand that India sign the COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) that would enhance joint surveillance of Chinese vessels
  3. India’s consistent demand that the U.S. bring more pressure on Pakistan to take action against terrorist groups could be met with another demand from the Trump team — for Indian boots on the ground in Afghanistan
  4. India’s reticence in sending its soldiers to fight wars elsewhere has remained a U.S. grouse
  5. In an effort to move closer to the U.S., the Vajpayee government had considered sending troops to Iraq in 2003, but aborted the move after domestic opposition
  6. The Trump White House may be less understanding about India’s domestic sentiment
  7. It is also not clear whether the Trump team will be pro-active on India’s bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

Note4Students:

The op-ed throws light on the Indo-U.S changing dynamics. Keep updated.

[op-ed snap] H-1B visa in the spotlight

Context:

  1. There are disconcerting signals from the Trump White House and Capitol Hill of likely changes to the H-1B non-immigrant visa programme in the U.S. for skilled workers in tech jobs
  2. Indian IT firms have been among the top recipients of the 65,000 such visas made available annually via a lottery system, in some years garnering well in excess of 80% of them

Dark clouds loom over H-1B visa:

  1. President Donald Trump, driven by his campaign promise of “Buy American, Hire American”, now has this “specialty occupation worker” visa in his crosshairs
  2. Shares in Indian IT majors took a nosedive last week when an unconfirmed draft executive order leaked to U.S. media houses appeared to call for reform of immigration rules for skilled foreign workers
  3. This was reverse the extensions granted by the Obama administration to the Optional Practical Training programme for foreign graduates in the U.S.
  4. It was a rigorous monitoring system for companies employing L-1 visa holders, intra-company transferees
  5. At least two bills with bipartisan backing were introduced in the House of Representatives last month, both urging tightening of conditions for skilled-worker visas that are, in the government’s view, costing Americans jobs

Bilateral relationship:

  1. It would cast a shadow of protectionism on the bilateral relationship with New Delhi
  2. This visa crackdown in the making raises troubling questions for the U.S. tech sector and the broader economy as well
  3. Any significant hike in the minimum salary levels for the specialised jobs held by H-1B visa recipients will hit not only Indian IT firms but also the tech titans of Silicon Valley, including Microsoft, Google and Facebook
  4. This will inflict pain on the U.S. economy
  5. Similarly, unless skill-based criteria are used in addition to wage-level restrictions, numerous U.S. firms will struggle to fill mid-level jobs with qualified Americans
  6. Indian firms have for years been the most rapidly growing investors in the U.S. economy
  7. If IT companies within this group are impacted by onerous new restrictions, they would likely prefer to entirely offshore their operations to India
  8. Ironically, that could lead to job losses for American workers
  9. While Mr. Trump was elected into office campaigning for economic revitalisation and job-creation for Americans, his administration would be wise to think through all the possible outcomes that could result from ham-fisted policies in the immigration space

 

Curbs on outsourcing may hit U.S. economy: Nasscom

  1. Context: U.S. President Donald Trump had promised to follow a ‘Buy American, Hire American’ policy in his inaugural speech
  2. The country’s premier trade body, Nasscom, will be taking a delegation to the U.S. in February in an attempt to reach out to the new administration on this issue
  3. India’s IT industry has warned about the adverse impact that curbs on outsourcing will have on the U.S. economy, which lacks high-skilled workers
  4. The critical thing for this industry is high-skilled workers and the fact of the matter is that those high-skilled workers are not available in the U.S
  5. Interdependence: The Indian IT industry provided services to American companies, which helped them to be competitive in the global market
  6. Also, more than 60% of the Indian IT industry’s $108-billion export revenue comes from the U.S.
  7. Even in colleges and universities in the U.S., more than 50% of the students are foreigners in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses
  8. So, even if you want to hire people from American universities, you can only hire them on visa because they are foreigners as well

Note4students:

This issue is important from mains PoV when you need to quote about employment scenario. This is even useful in globalisation issues- showing interdependence of economies.

India, U.S. plan to expand Malabar naval exercises

  1. What: India and the U.S. are looking to expand the scope of their annual Malabar naval exercises
  2. The 21st edition of the Malabar exercises, now in a trilateral format including Japan, will take place in the Indian Ocean next year
  3. Malabar has over the years grown in size and complexity involving aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines

Note4students:

Exercises like these are important for prelims. They can also be used as part of answers for India-US, India-Japan relations. Or about India’s Act East policy (due to inclusion of Japan).

Back2basics:

1. India and US have regularly conducted the annual bilateral exercise named ‘MALABAR’ since 1992. Since 2007, MALABAR has been held alternatively off India and in the Western Pacific. The 19th edition of the exercise, Ex MALABAR-15, was conducted off Chennai and included participation by the Japan.

2. The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies and develop common understanding of procedures for Maritime Security Operations.

No direct impact on U.S.-India ties: Experts

  1. Context: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, for Secretary of State
  2. According to experts and former diplomats. the Indian leadership would have no issue dealing with a businessman-diplomat or for that matter the U.S.’s businessman-President
  3. Mr. Tillerson, with close business ties with Russia, is expected to improve ties between Washington and Moscow
  4. Better U.S.-Russia ties are to India’s benefit
  5. India has been worried about the strategic nightmare if there is a formal alliance between Russia and China, given how important Russia is to India on military and energy supplies
  6. Any easing of tensions between the U.S. and Russia will also make things easier for India
  7. However, there are concerns about the new administration’s attitude to climate change and the Paris accord in particular
  8. Another worry is Mr. Trump’s recent reiteration that he would curtail ‘H-1B visas’
  9. According to experts, the greater strides made during the Obama administration were in the field of defence, which are more long-term, and unlikely to be reversed by the new appointees

Note4students:

Deteriorating relations between the US and Russia have been responsible for the closeness between Russia and China recently. This has further led Russia to support Pakistan in fora such as the recently concluded Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar. Better relations under Trump between Russia and US will counteract this trend.

U.S. arms technologies come closer

  1. Context: U.S. designating India as a Major Defence Partner (MDP)
  2. Outcome: Licensing regulations to acquire sensitive military technologies, such as those that go into the F-16 and F-18 fighter jets, will be simplified
  3. This designation is generally only given to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries and U.S. treaty allies such as Australia and Japan
  4. Earlier this week, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defence Authorisation Act to enhance defence and security cooperation with India
  5. This comes at a time when India is considering proposals for a new fighter aircraft
  6. The aircraft are to be built under the “Make in India” initiative, in significant numbers, with technology transfer
  7. A senior official of the Pentagon, with experience in defence acquisition and technology, will be designated to expedite matters for India
  8. However, the status will not help circumvent multilateral control regimes

Note4students:

Add these to your notes on India-US relations. If you have been reading the news regularly then this should not be be new to you.

[op-ed snap] Binding friendship

  1. Context: “Major Defense Partner” status bestowed upon India by the US
  2. Bilateral defence cooperation is institutionalised and enshrined in American law
  3. The India amendment, as part of the 2017 American defence budget, has been passed by the US Senate and signed by President Obama
  4. “Major Defense Partner” is based on the concept of the US treating India as its closest ally and partner for the purpose of technology transfer
  5. Eases US licensing requirements for India, particularly from the US commerce department on dual-use items
  6. The new status does not provide a blanket exception nor circumvent multilateral export control regimes
  7. The status hopes that India will become part of all the four export control regimes at the earliest

Note4Students:

This is an important bilateral agreement with the U.S. Go through the B2B mentioned below and revise your concept on MECRs. Quite important for Prelims.

Back2Basics:

A Multilateral Export Control Regime (MECR) is an international body that states use to organize their national export control systems. There are currently 4 such regimes:

  • The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
  • The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for the control of nuclear related technology
  • The Australia Group (AG) for control of chemical and biological technology that could be weaponized
  • The Missile Technology Control Regime for the control of rockets and other aerial vehicles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction

Trump picks climate change sceptic to lead EPA

  1. What: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has picked climate change sceptic Scott Pruitt, to head America’s Environmental Protection Agency
  2. His appointment could undermine the proactive environmental programme pursued by President Barack Obama
  3. Effect on India: A dilution of the U.S. climate change agenda could have a bearing on its relationship with India
  4. Cooperation in climate change mitigation has been a prominent component of bilateral relations
  5. Both countries have explained several initiatives, including the civil nuclear cooperation, from that perspective
  6. The first commercial agreement between India and the U.S. under the civil nuclear pact is to be concluded in June 2017

Note4students:

This would not be the first time the US has put the environmental movt in danger. It previously backed out of the Kyoto Protocol. Such decisions could set back progress and worsen the climate change impact in the long run. In the short term it could alter the power balance with India and China assuming leadership of the environmental movt.

India, U.S. talk defence partnership

  1. What: India and the U.S. finalised the specifications for designating India a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the U.S
  2. This status puts India on a par with the closest allies and partners of the U.S.
  3. Both sides reviewed the progress achieved under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)
  4. DTTI is intended to promote opportunities for co-production and co-development of weapon systems and platforms
  5. It will strengthen India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative

Note4students:

This news article indicates the strengthening relationship between US and India. Especially note the status of Major Defence Partner for India.

Future of India-U.S. military agreements under Trump

  1. Source: Heidi Grant, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs
  2. What: Enthusiasm for the India-U.S. defence logistics agreements is not waning from the U.S. side despite the transition in the White House
  3. Context: The feeling in New Delhi has been that the enthusiasm for the deals has dampened with the imminent Trump presidency
  4. India and the United States signed LEMOA in August, a custom made version of the Logistics Sharing Agreement (LSA)
  5. However, the agreement is yet to be operationalised
  6. There are 2 other logistics and information sharing agreements, the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
  7. And the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)
  8. These together with LSA form the 3 foundational agreements that define American defence ties with partner countries.
  9. These other two agreements are yet to be signed

Back2basics:

What are LSA, CISMOA and BECA agreements?

Welcome to the world of 3 foundational agreements that the US has been insisting on India to sign to further enhance the bilateral defence and strategic relationship.

The Logistics Support Agreement (LSA)

  1. LSA would set a framework for the two countries to share military logistics
  2. To assist each other’s armed forces with simple military logistics. For the U.S. Navy, for example, logistics support from India would be a valuable asset, helping it better project power in the Indian Ocean.

LSA would allow each other to access their military bases without any conflict for e.g in 1991 Gulf war India denied the US from refuelling its aircraft from Indian territory.

The Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)

  1. CISMOA would allow the United States to supply India with its propriety encrypted communications equipment and systems
  2. Thus allowing secure peacetime and wartime communication between high-level military leaders on both sides
  3. CISMOA would extend this capability to Indian and U.S. military assets, including aircraft and ships

The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)

  1. BECA would set a framework through which the United States could share sensitive data to aid targeting and navigation with India

Note4students:

This news is mainly important because of the many agreements listed. Questions based on it could come in prelims and mains. You could be asked for short notes, or to give their features, importance etc.

India-U.S. meet to focus on market access issues II

  1. India also wanted the U.S. to look into the delay in reaching an agreement on totalisation (or a social security pact)
  2. The absence of a totalisation pact is imposing a burden on the Indian software sector (who send professionals to the U.S. on projects)
  3. These companies have to shell out over $1 billion per year to the U.S. Government towards social security, with no benefit or prospect of refund
  4. U.S. Issues: U.S. companies said they continued to fear the retrospective aspects of India’s taxation regime despite the government’s assurances
  5. They had also raised concerns on protection of IPR in India as well as concerns over inefficiencies in infrastructure and commerce in India
  6. The U.S. government had red-flagged investor concerns about India’s “high” tariff walls, localisation requirements as well as other “trade barriers” created by standards on testing, certification, and registration

India-U.S. meet to focus on market access issues I

  1. Event: India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meetings
  2. Market access issues on goods and services as well as Intellectual Property Rights policy-related matters are expected to be discussed
  3. Strong bilateral commercial ties between the U.S. and India are reflected by the increased bilateral trade in goods and services of $109 billion and the highest-ever FDI inflows in 2015-16
  4. Both countries had set a goal to take two-way trade to $500 billion in the years ahead
  5. Indian issues: In August, the U.S. had agreed to look into India’s concerns the move to hike fees for H1-B and L1 visas

US stands in solidarity with India on cross-LoC strikes

  1. Source: Interview of U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma
  2. On strikes: The U.S. supports cross-LoC strikes by India
  3. Funds to Pakistan: Washington has drastically cut assistance to Pakistan in the past five years over concerns on terror
  4. Since 2011, U.S. military aid to Pakistan had dwindled 73 per cent over differences with the Pakistan government’s action on terror
  5. U.S. economic assistance to Pakistan since 2011 is down 54 per cent

Learn about Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement

  1. Background: The US has been pressing New Delhi to sign the agreement for the last 10 years
  2. Provisions: It will provide access to supplies, spare parts and services from each other’s land facilities, air bases and ports, which can then be reimbursed
  3. It also provides a framework that governs the exchange of logistics support, supplies and services
  4. It does not provide automatic access to the use of military bases
  5. Impact: This would move India closer to the US as a strategic partner

A background to Yudh Abhyas

  1. LEMOA impact: Accounting and book-keeping for the exercise will be done under the arrangement which does away with the need for settling bills and payments every time
  2. They will be recorded and cleared every three months
  3. The exercise comes against the backdrop of Pakistani media reports that Pakistan and Russia will hold their first joint military exercise later this year
  4. Possible sale of Russian military hardware to Islamabad is also on the cards
  5. Separately, China and Russia began naval war games in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where India had joined the chorus for enforcing freedom of navigation and open sea lanes of communication

After LEMOA, it’s war games now

  1. Yudh Abhyas: The 12th edition of the annual bilateral military training exercise between India-US
  2. Will take place at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand, close to the China border
  3. It is one of the longest running joint military training exercises
  4. Both countries host the exercise alternately
  5. Officials would soon discuss ways to enhance the scope and scale of exercises in tune with the deepening military cooperation

Act against terror, Kerry tells Pakistan

  1. Context: The Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) between India and US
  2. US: Echoed India’s concerns for an end to distinction between good terrorism and bad terrorism
  3. Sought action from Pakistan on 26/11 attacks and the attack on the Pathankot airbase
  4. Will hold trilateral talks with Afghanistan and India during next month’s U.N. session to fine-tune counter-terror measures

India, U.S. to sign logistics agreement

  1. News: The LEMOA which was agreed upon ‘in principle’ earlier in 2016 will be signed now on Defence Minister’s visit to the US
  2. Background: LEMOA was finalised during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June
  3. LEMOA: The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement allows both sides access to each other’s military facilities for refuelling and replenishment
  4. Discussions have already begun on the other two foundational agreements:
  • Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
  • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA)

Join agreement against parental abduction: U.S.

  1. Context: Almost a hundred children born to Indian-American couples are facing an uncertain future due to the trauma of separation of their parents and the complex legal issues involved
  2. News: Thus, US has urged India to join the ‘Hague Abduction Convention’ to create a more effective response to deal with such cases
  3. IPCA: International Parental Child Abduction is a situation that is attained when one parent takes a child to a foreign country to prevent the other parent from seeking custody of the child
  4. Stats: India’s case-load (regarding IPCA) is second largest in the United States which is followed by Mexico
  5. As more and more Indians are studying and working in the U.S, such cases are growing in number and we need to get a better mechanism to deal with this

What is the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)?

  1. The DTTI is not a treaty or a law. 
  2. It is a flexible mechanism to ensure that senior leaders from US and India, are persistently focused on the opportunities and challenges associated with growing defense partnership.
  3. It aims to strengthen India-US cooperative research, co-production, and co-development of capabilities needed for the sustainment and modernization of our military forces.

India-US deal to procure four Poseidon-8i aircraft

  1. These planes will be used for long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare
  2. The acquisition is seen as a boost to our naval surveillance capabilities
  3. Make a note this development alongside the Chinese forays in Indian Ocean including docking of their nuclear submarines in Sri Lanka
  4. Currently, the US figures among India’s top military hardware suppliers along with France and Israel
  5. Good time to revisit Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)

US seeks trade sanctions in India poultry dispute

  1. News: According to WTO, US is seeking trade sanctions against India after winning a dispute at the WTO)regarding Indian restrictions on imports of US poultry meat, eggs and live pigs
  2. The United States has requested a WTO meeting on July 19 to launch the claim for compensation
  3. USTR: US annual exports of poultry meat to India could exceed $300 million once the restrictions are removed, and are likely to grow substantially in the future as Indian diets and pockets grow richer
  4. Background: The United States won the dispute in June last year, when the WTO’s Appellate Body ruled that India’s restrictions were discriminatory and based on unsubstantiated fears over bird flu
  5. US argued that it had not had an outbreak of high pathogenic avian flu since 2004, while India had 90 such outbreaks between 2004 and 2014

U.S. wants progress in investment pact talks with India

  1. Context: Ongoing India-US BIT negotiations
  2. Issue: The new model text of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) is making it difficult for America to hold bilateral talks on the proposed India-U.S. BIT
  3. Why? India’s model BIT text substantially narrows the scope of investments that can be covered by the proposed India-U.S. BIT
  4. It also requires that disputes be exhausted in local Indian jurisdictions before alternative investor-state dispute mechanisms can be initiated
  5. Delays: Investors from developed countries including the U.S. have been citing ‘judicial delays’ in India to demand that they be granted the flexibility in the BITs
  6. Flexibility: To take disputes to international arbitration tribunals without waiting to exhaust remedies available in India

India to get access to 99% of US defence technologies

  1. News: India will be the only country outside Washington formal treaty allies that will gain access to almost 99% of latest US defence technologies
  2. Only 1% exports denied to India, due to global US licensing policies
  3. The category of ‘Major Defence Partner’ was created specifically for India
  4. This was to recognise that although India will not be an alliance partner of the US, India will be treated as such for giving it access to advanced technologies
  5. India would receive licence-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies together with steps taken by India to advance its export control objectives
  6. Earlier: The US recognised India as a Major Defence Partner in a joint statement

India, U.S. to ratify Paris deal by 2017

  1. India and the U.S agreed to initiate domestic processes to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change and complete the process within this year
  2. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCL) and nuclear reactor builders, Westinghouse, will immediately start the engineering and site design work on six reactors to be set up in Gujarat under an early work agreement
  3. All commercial agreements will be completed by June 2017
  4. This is a step ahead in civil nuclear cooperation

India, US and Japan to hold major naval drill in Western Pacific- II

  1. Conflict: A group of uninhabited isles, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, which are controlled by Japan and claimed by China
  2. The islands are located around 220 km (137 miles) west of Taiwan
  3. China claims most of the neighbouring South China Sea
  4. But the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims
  5. Concern to US: China’s extending influence into the Western Pacific, with a growing fleet of submarines and surface vessels to ply distant oceans

India, US and Japan to hold major naval drill in Western Pacific- I

  1. Context: Malabar, a large scale joint naval exercise between India, U.S., Japan will start for eight days
  2. Exercise will take place in the Western Pacific, close to a Japanese island chain, part of which China claims
  3. Malabar: An annual event between the U.S. and India, and Japan is joining it this year for the first time since 2007

Modi, Obama welcome work on nuclear reactors in India

  1. Context: India-U.S. will start work together on six nuclear reactors in India very soon
  2. India and the U.S. Export-Import Bank intend to work together toward a competitive financing package for the project
  3. US: Fulfilling the promise of Civil nuclear agreement and demonstrating the commitment to meet India’s growing energy needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels

Climate change to be a priority in talks in Indo-US talks

  1. Context: Modi will have a bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama and address a joint session of Congress
  2. Agenda: Advancing the ambitious climate change and clean energy agenda and enhancing our security and diplomatic cooperation across the Indo-Pacific
  3. Mr. Modi is visiting the U.S – the fourth time since he took over as PM in 2014

India, U.S. to share data on terrorists

  1. Context: India has joined the global terror database maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) of the U.S.
  2. TSC? Has details of 11,000 suspects on its database including nationality, date of birth, photos, finger prints and passport number
  3. Both the countries will give each other access to terrorism screening information through designated contact points, subject to domestic laws and regulations
  4. History: The proposal was initially made by the U.S. in 2012 but had made no progress due to objection of Indian security agencies

U.S. Senate to vote on pro-India defence law

  1. Context: U.S. senate may pass National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) that will make defence trade with India easy
  2. After the President’s sign, the amendments will enable defence trade between the U.S. and India on automatic route for a range of equipment
  3. Aim: It will provide the authorisation of any proposed sale or export of defence services or technical data to India
  4. Also it will help to trade with U.S. in a similar manner like U.S.’s closest partner

India is an untapped economy: Nikki Haley

  1. Context: Nikki Haley is betting big on India as she is aggressively wooing companies and talent from the South Asian nation to set up businesses in the United States of America
  2. South Carolina has attracted six Indian-based companies to set up their business
  3. These include engineering services firm, business process outsourcing services organisation and warehousing and storage company
  4. Nikki Haley: The first female governor of South Carolina and currently the youngest governor in the United States

Why not to use ‘Oriental’ or ‘n’ words?

  1. The word ‘Oriental’ has derogatory connotations
  2. It has acquired the abusive tone that the ‘n’ word has
  3. The word evokes unpleasant memories for the people of Asian origin, particularly those from East Asia, in America
  4. Why? Due to its Eurocentric nature and its association with the period of colonialism and racial segregation

Asian-Americans in US not to be called ‘oriental’

  1. Context: The word ‘Oriental’ to describe the people of Asian origin will no longer be used in U.S statute books
  2. President Barack Obama signed a law that removed the word from two places it existed in the country’s laws
  3. The amendments signed by the President also discontinue the use of the ‘n’ word
  4. Laws: The words existed in the law that established the Department of Energy, and in the Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act, both made in the 1970s

India rejects findings of U.S. religious panel

  1. Context: India on U.S. religion panel report
  2. Report: India is on a negative trajectory in terms of religious freedom
  3. India: Report does not have proper understanding of Indian society
  4. Also, cannot accept the interference of a foreign entity like the USCIRF
  5. USCIRF: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Modi invited to address joint session of U.S. Congress

  1. Context: PM will address the US congress
  2. When? At a joint meeting of congress when he visits to US in June
  3. US Speaker: Friendship between both the countries is a pillar of stability in important regions of world
  4. Legacy: Modi will be 5th PM of India who address a joint meeting of US congress

India, U.S. to conclude pact on aircraft carrier cooperation


 

  1. India & US are close to finalising- (i) Information Exchange Agreement (IEA) on aircraft carrier technologies & (ii) Cooperation on air wing operations for carrier Vikrant under construction at Kochi
  2. IEA: Will formalise the exact technology that the U.S. will share and at what classification level, design side, operations
  3. Terms of Reference have already been signed during meeting of India-U.S. Joint Working Group (JWG) on carrier technology cooperation

No military alliance with U.S.

  1. Govt: There is no dilution of India’s position and no military alliance with the proposed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S.
  2. Why? The comments came after the government was accused of joining the U.S. ‘military bloc’ by agreeing to the use of each other’s military bases
  3. Criticism: LSA, first proposed by the U.S. in 2004, was considered ‘intrusive, and akin to an alliance’ and hence had been rejected by the UPA government
  4. Govt argument: Projection of LEMOA as a sovereignty issue was a misrepresentation
  5. How? Indian and U.S. military troops would access each other’s facilities more for technical than political reasons
  6. In particular, the need for the LSA was felt during humanitarian rescue efforts such as Operation Raahat

Militaries of U.S., India to share their facilities

  1. News: India and the U.S. have agreed “in principle” on a logistics support agreement
  2. Objective: It would make easier for militaries of both countries to share each other’s facilities
  3. Agreement: The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement
  4. Impact: It could have far-reaching implications for India’s military postur

U.S. keen on building fighter jets in India, says official

  1. News: The ambitious Defence Technology and Trade Initiative between India and the US has made significant progress in the last 2 years
  2. The two countries are in the process of identifying joint development project and at least 17 projects are shortlisted
  3. US is also keen to build fighter jets in India

India in talks with U.S. to buy Predator drones

  1. Context: India is in talks with the United States to purchase 40 Predator surveillance drones
  2. It is a possible first step towards acquiring the armed version of the aircraft
  3. Why? Equipping the military with more unmanned technologies to gather intelligence
  4. Also to boost firepower along the vast land borders with Pakistan and China
  5. Also to have a closer eye on the Indian Ocean

Learn about HSPD-6

  1. Basics: It is an agreement for exchange of terrorist screening information between the Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) of the US and foreign country’s security agency
  2. The TSC has the database of 11,000 terror suspects
  3. Objective: To protect the people, property, and territory of the US against acts of terrorism
  4. Impact: Recently, few people were arrested in Canada and Australia with the help of HSPD-6, as both countries are signatories to it

India opts not to join global terror database

  1. Context: The Homeland Security Presidential Directive was to be discussed at a bilateral homeland security meet to be held in June 2016
  2. News: The govt has decided not to join a US maintained global terror database
  3. Reason: The Research and Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau were concerned over sharing information as it is maintained by the US
  4. Purpose: Americans would have unhindered access to the database of terror suspects in India, which includes their biometric details

US hikes ADD on Indian shrimps

  1. Context: The US government has raised the anti-dumping duty on import of frozen shrimps from India
  2. It may have an impact on the exports from country as USA is the largest market for Indian shrimps
  3. Also, lot of Indian exporters will switch to other markets which are erratic

What is Anti-Dumping Duty (ADD)?

  1. What? It is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value
  2. When? Comes into play when a foreign company is selling an item significantly below the price at which it is being produced
  3. Why? The logic behind anti-dumping duties is to save domestic jobs
  4. Criticism: This leads to higher prices for domestic consumers and reduces the competitiveness of domestic companies producing similar goods

Talking to India on religious freedom, says U.S

  1. Context: India denied visas to members of the US Commission of International Religious Freedom(USCIRF) for the 7th year in a row
  2. News: United States has expressed its disappointment over India’s move
  3. Reason: India sees no locus standi of USCIRF on the issue, as religious freedom is enshrined in the Indian Constitution
  4. India has also questioned the role of foreign entities to comment on the state of Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights

US delegation denied Visa for India

  1. Context: India has denied visas for a delegation from the US government agency
  2. Delegation: From the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
  3. Task: Monitoring international religious freedom
  4. US: Disappointed; India should have confidence to allow US delegation
  5. US law allows for imposition of sanctions on countries the commission terms “of particular concern”
  6. But the USCIRF’s recommendations are not binding and these are not automatically imposed

U.S. push for joint patrols in Indo-Pacific region

  1. Context: Countries are coming together to maintain freedom of the seas for all nations, especially after South China Sea dispute
  2. News: US is pushing India towards joint naval patrols and multilateral groupings in the Indo-Pacific region
  3. US want to convert the increasingly complex naval exercises between the two countries into coordinated patrols
  4. Future: The American and Indian Navy vessels can steam together throughout Indo-Asia-Pacific waters ensuring freedom of the seas for all nations

Sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan should not be of concern to India: Pentagon

  1. Context: The Obama Administration’s decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan should not be a cause of concern for India, Pentagon said
  2. Relevance: As the regional security situation was taken into account at the time of sale
  3. Background: This is a capability that will help Pakistan in its counterterrorism effort and that’s in the national security interests of the United States
  4. India’s concern: India disagreed with the US’ rationale that such arms transfers help Pakistan in combating terrorism
  5. India Believes: US military aid to Pakistan goes into anti-India activities
  6. Features of F—16 aircraft: Facilitate operations in all—weather, non—daylight environments
  7. Provide a self— defence/area suppression capability, and enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter—insurgency and counter terrorism operations

India disappointed over US decision to sell F16s to Pak

  1. Context: The Obama administration notified the U.S. Congress of its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan
  2. The News: India expressed disappointment over decision to sell eight F16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying it disagrees that such arms’ transfers will help combat terrorism
  3. Objective: This proposed sale contributes to US foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia
  4. Estimated cost: $ 699.4 million, according to the Defence Security Cooperation Agency — a wing of the Pentagon

Learn about WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement(GPA)?

  1. This is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the WTO, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement
  2. The fundamental aim of the GPA is to mutually open government procurement markets among its parties
  3. GPA consists of 17 parties covering 45 WTO members (counting the European Union and its 28 member states, all of which are covered by the Agreement, as one party)

India flags API issue to U.S. govt.

The U.S. decision has major implications on generic drugs, affordability of medicines and on efficient sourcing

  1. India has sought clarity from the U.S. government which gave rise to apprehensions that medicines procured by America
  2. That should be only from companies making even the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) either locally or in certain designated nations such as EU members
  3. India and China account for about 80 per cent of the U.S.’s requirement of API (drug raw materials)
  4. The U.S. TAA applies America’s international trade agreements and the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)
  5. Medicines need to be made in the U.S., or in certain ‘designated countries,’ as per U.S. trade rules
  6. India and China are not in this list of ‘designated countries’. India is not a signatory to the GPA and does not have a free trade pact with the U.S.

Indian engineers, scientists in U.S. nearing one million

  1. Indian-origin scientists and engineers in the U.S. grew 85% between 2003 and 2013.
  2. There are 950,000 scientists and engineers of Indian origin in 2013, which suggest that India’s rise far outstrips that of the Philippines and China.
  3. This rapid rise in the number of expatriate Indian technologists comes in the decade when India has launched a plethora of schemes to attract highly-qualified scientists back to India.
  4. According to UN, Indians make up the largest diaspora in the world, with 16 million of them scattered across the world.

What is Logistic Support Agreement (LSA)?

  1. The genesis of the LSA can be found in Strategic Partnership document signed by US and India in March 2006 during the visit of the US President George W. Bush to New Delhi.
  2. The document stated that the US and India will soon sign an agreement to facilitate mutual logistic support during combined training, exercises and disaster relief operations.
  3. The agreement includes maritime, counter-terrorism, defence trade and efforts for the speedy conclusion of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.
  4. The LSA would require both countries to provide their bases, fuel and other kinds of logistics support to each others’ fighter jets and naval warships.

The LSA would be particularly beneficial at the time of disaster relief operations like the one India undertook in the wake of the Asian Tsunami in 2004.

India and U.S. inch closer to deal on logistics support

On the other two agreements the CISMOA and BECA, however, India has deeper concerns as it involves giving the U.S. access to India’s encrypted systems.

  1. Three major military pacts which could elevate Indo-U.S. relations to a new strategic level are being pursued afresh under the PM Modi regime.
  2. Both sides are one step short of reaching an understanding on the Logistic Support Agreement (LSA), which gives U.S. forces access to Indian bases for logistics support and vice versa.
  3. Government embarking on joint development and production projects for high technology weapons under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
  4. The three “foundational agreements” guide U.S. high technology sales to other countries.

In addition to the LSA, includes –

  • Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
  • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).

India, US to raise defence tech ties

India and the U.S. have identified 17 new areas for potential cooperation under Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

  1. DTTI, a flagship scheme launched in 2012, aims to enhance bilateral strategic partnership, particularly in high technology.
  2. Some private companies expressed interest in manufacturing fighter aircraft in India.
  3. The progress made by two joint working groups – one on aircraft carrier technology cooperation and other on jet engine technology.
  4. The change in policy is expected to allow U.S. companies working with their Indian counterparts to submit transfer requests for technology.


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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