Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

India needs to engage with U.S. progressives


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- India-US relations

The artcle highlights the role played by the progressive section in the US politics in influencing U.S. governments decision on TRIPS waiver and providing aid to India. Incidentally, these progressives include names such as Pramila Jayapal whose comment on human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir had annoyed India.

What led to change in U.S.’s approach on aid

  • There was a shift in the U.S.’s approach on providing COVID-19-related aid to India as well as on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver on COVID-19 vaccines.
  • It is tempting to surmise the shift as being driven by the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership with New Delhi.
  • But it is more than just that.
  • The development was a result of the determined push by some sections of the political and business class, civil society, and Indian Americans.
  • Besides them, the progressives in the Democratic Party made a big difference.

Role of the progressives

  • Days ahead of the May 5 decision of the Biden administration on the TRIPS waiver, 110 members of the U.S. Congress wrote to President Biden urging him to support the waiver.
  • Thus, the Biden administration’s decision on the waiver and the vaccines, characterised as courageous by many, was a result of the push by the progressives.
  • Joining in this effort, the co-chair of the Congressional India Caucus, and over 50 colleagues wrote last week to President Biden seeking supply of specific items.
  • The overall approach is to work with India in its battle against the second wave and prepare for subsequent ones.


It is evident that the progressives have a grip on policymaking. India will have to remain engaged with this section instead of offering a cold shoulder as it did in the recent past. As the adage goes, all politics is local.

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