Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

A new direction for India-U.S. ties


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- India-U.S. ties

This article analyses what the new shift in the India-U.S. ties will require for the mutual benefit.

Following 12 factors would influence the depth and longevity of the India-U.S. ties.

1) Outcome of the  U.S. Presidential elections

  • The success of India’s new bonding with the U.S. will depend on the outcome of the U.S. Presidential elections.
  • The Democratic party candidate with the Left wing and liberals in the U.S. has been highly critical of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

2) Need to build trust with the U.S.

  • India purchased of the S-400 air defence missile system from Russia disregarding the U.S. concerns.
  • India refused to send Indian troops to Afghanistan.
  • We need to build trust with the U.S. that we will give to the U.S. as good as it gives us.
  • For this structuring we must realise that India-U.S. relations require give and take on both sides.
  • What India needs to take today is for dealing with the Ladakh confrontation with China.
  • India needs U.S. hardware military equipment.

3)  Fighting the U.S. enemy in neighbourhood

  • The U.S. needs India to fight her enemies in the neighbourhood such as in Afghanistan.
  • India should send two divisions gradually to Afghanistan and relieve U.S. troops to go home

4) Intelligence sharing and cooperation

  • India needs the support of the U.S. and its ally, Israel, in cyberwarfare, satellite mappings of China and Pakistan.
  • There is a need for sharing intercepts of electronic communication, hard intelligence on terrorists, and controlling the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence in Pakistan.

5) Developing naval bases

  • India needs the U.S. to completely develop the Andaman & Nicobar, and also the Lakshadweep Islands as a naval and air force base.
  • These naval bases can be used by the U.S  and shared along with its allies such as Indonesia and Japan.

6) Economic relations and India’s concerns

  • The economic relations must be based on macroeconomic commercial principles.
  • Free, indiscriminate flow of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) is not in India’s national interest.

7) Technology sharing

  • India needs technologies such as thorium utilisation, desalination of sea water, and hydrogen fuel cells.

8) U.S. should allow import of agricultural product

  • The U.S. must allow India’s exports of agricultural products including Bos indicus milk, which are of highly competitive prices in the world.

9) FDI in India

  • FDI should be allowed into India selectively from abroad, including from the U.S.
  • FDI in India should be based on the economic theory of comparative advantage and not on subsidies and gratis.

10) Tariffs

  • Tariffs of both India and the U.S. should be lowered, and the Indian rupee should be gradually revalued to ₹35 to a dollar.
  • Later, with the economy picking up, the rupee rate should go below 10 to the dollar.

11) Stay away from certain issues

  •  India should not provide the U.S. with our troops to enter Tibet, or be involved in the Hong Kong and Taiwan issue.
  • There is always a possibility of a leadership change in China.
  • Thus, China’s policy changed very favourably towards India.
  • In the cases of Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, we have made explicit agreements.
  • In the case of Tibet, two formal treaties were signed by Nehru (1954) and A.B. Vajpayee (2003).

12) Trilateral commitment to world peace

  • In the long run, India, the U.S., and China should form a trilateral commitment for world peace provided Chinese current international policies undergo a healthy change.

Consider the question “What are the factors influencing the India-U.S. ties? Suggest the pathway to address the issues that hamper the deepening of India-U.S. ties.”


Both countries need to recognise each other’s concern and work towards the deepening of the ties for the mutual benefit and with a view to dealing with the challenges confronting both the countries.

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