Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Dynamism in India-U.S. ties

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Parliamentary Friendship Groups

Mains level : Paper 2- Interactions between Members of Parliament in India and members of the U.S. Congress

Context

While there are regular interactions among officials at various levels and across sectors, as well as people-to-people engagement, there are no formal interactions between Members of Parliament in India and members of the U.S. Congress.

US Congressional Delegation (CODEL) visit to India

  •  CODEL travels across the world during the periods when Congress takes a break from legislative work.
  • Interactions during these travels are important in shaping relations with foreign countries.
  • In November, a congressional delegation (CODEL) travelled to the Indo-Pacific Command countries, including the Philippines, Taiwan and India.
  • In New Delhi, the six-member delegation interacted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, and representatives of the Dalai Lama.
  • The members of the delegation noted the “increasing convergence of strategic interests” between India and the U.S. and said they would like to “further enhance cooperation… to promote global peace and stability”.
  •  Mr. Modi appreciated the consistent support and constructive role of the U.S. Congress in deepening the India-U.S. comprehensive global strategic partnership.
  • Enhancing bilateral relationship on critical issues: Mr. Modi and CODEL exchanged views on enhancing the bilateral relationship and strengthening cooperation on contemporary global issues such as terrorism, climate change and reliable chains for critical technologies.
  • Demand for the presidential waiver for India: Two days after returning from his trip to India, CODEL member Senator Tommy Tuberville favoured India getting the presidential waiver under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
  • Significance of CODEL visit: Members of the U.S. Congress play an important role in determining foreign policy, which at times is dictated by the demands of constituents.

Way forward

  •  Despite the robustness in India-U.S. relations, there is no institutional communication or interaction between MPs in India and members of the U.S. Congress.
  • Establishment of India-US Parliamentary Exchange: The joint statement at the end of the 2+2 Dialogue in 2019 stated: “The Ministers looked forward to the establishment of India-US Parliamentary Exchange to facilitate reciprocal visits by Parliamentarians of the two countries”.
  • Indian Parliamentary Group: India can take it forward through the Indian Parliamentary Group, which acts as a link between the Indian Parliament and the various Parliaments of the world.
  • At present, there are eight Parliamentary Friendship Groups of India’s including Japan, Russia, China and the European Union.
  • The U.S. is absent from this list.

Conclusion

The significance of the CODEL visit is not lost in the U.S. as members of the U.S. Congress play an important role in determining foreign policy, which at times is dictated by the demands of constituents.

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