Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Nov, 09, 2018

US exempts India from certain sanctions for development of Chabahar port in Iran

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: South Asian Strategy

Mains level: Impact of US-Iran strain on India’s developmental initiatives in Afghanistan


News

  • The United States has exempted India from the imposition of certain sanctions for the development of the strategically-located Chabahar port in Iran.

Details of the Exemption

  1. After extensive consideration, US has provided for an exception from imposition of certain sanctions under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012,.
  2. It included development of Chabahar port, construction of an associated railway and for shipment of non-sanctionable goods through the port for Afghanistan’s use, as well as imports of Iranian petroleum products.
  3. Eight countries namely India, China, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey were temporarily allowed to continue buying Iranian oil.
  4. They have shown a “significant reduction” in oil purchase from the Persian Gulf country.

Significance

  1. The decision signifies India’s role in development of the port on the Gulf of Oman, which is of immense strategic importance for the development of war-torn Afghanistan.
  2. This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan.
  3. These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan’s growth and humanitarian relief.

Trump’s South Asia Strategy

  1. US decision to give India an exemption from the imposition of certain sanctions for the development of the port is driven by the South Asian strategy, which was announced by Trump in August.
  2. It states that India has a major role in bringing peace and development in Afghanistan.
  3. The South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan’s economic growth and development as well as its close partnership with India.
Oct, 30, 2018

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: India, China and the INF Treaty

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

Mains level: Recent trend of USA’s disregard of bilateral and multilateral treaties and its impact on India as well as global geopolitics


Context

USA’s withdrawal from INF Treaty

  1. US President Donald Trump recently announced about American plans to withdraw from the three-decade-old missile treaty with Russia
  2. The treaty that Trump wants to discard is the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that was concluded in 1987 by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev
  3. It has been hailed as one of the most important arms control agreements between Washington and Moscow

Provisions of the treaty

  1. Under the INF treaty, the US and Soviet Union agreed not to develop, produce, possess or deploy any ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles that have a range between 500 and 5,500 km
  2. It exempted the air-launched and sea-based missile systems in the same range

Importance of the treaty

  1. The INF treaty helped address the fears of an imminent nuclear war in Europe
  2. It also built some trust between Washington and Moscow and contributed to the end of the Cold War

Loopholes in the treaty

  1. It left the other nuclear weapon powers free to develop ground-based intermediate-range forces
  2. In the age of nuclear superpowers, it did not seem to matter
  3. Since then, many countries have developed missiles in the range of 500 to 5,500 km, including India, Pakistan and North Korea
  4. Nearly 90 per cent of China’s vast missile armoury — estimated at around 2,000 rockets — is in the intermediate range and would be illegal if Beijing were to be a part of the INF treaty

Root cause of USA’s withdrawal

  1. Although the US cites Russian violations of the INF treaty as the immediate cause for the withdrawal, coping with China’s massive rocket force appears to be the more important reason for the decision
  2. The expansive Chinese land-based intermediate range missile forces threaten the American naval ships deployed in the Western Pacific and target US military bases in Japan
  3. The vulnerability of American military presence in the Pacific to Chinese missiles, in turn, undermines the credibility of American security commitment to its Asian allies

Inclusion of China in the treaty

  1. In announcing the intent to withdraw, Trump said the only way to sustain the treaty is for Russia to stop the violations and China to join the INF treaty
  2. China has already rejected the proposition
  3. It has always refused to join the US-Russian arms control agreements

Impact of a pan-Asia INF treaty on India

  1. If the US deploys a new INF in Asia, to enhance its capacity to deter China, Beijing is bound to react
  2. The focus of a potential new arms race appears to be less on traditional nuclear-armed missiles, but precise hypersonic missiles (which travel at least five times the speed of sound) equipped with conventional warheads
  3. India has an effort underway on hypersonic missiles — part indigenous and part in collaboration with Russia to build on the supersonic Brahmos missiles that travel more than twice as fast as sound
  4. As the US conflict with Russia deepens, Delhi’s partnership with Moscow on advanced military systems will come under increasing scrutiny and pressure
  5. Russia’s tightening military embrace with China also casts a shadow over defence ties between Delhi and Moscow
  6. Delhi, then, will have to think long and hard about its missile programme by focusing on the urgent need to ramp up the domestic effort as well as diversify its international collaboration on hypersonic weapons

Way forward

  1. India needs a significant force of hypersonic missiles to better control escalation to the nuclear level if there is another Doklam-like military confrontation with China
  2. Delhi will also have to cope with the inevitable proliferation of hypersonic systems in its neighbourhood
Oct, 27, 2018

Explained: How a country gets a currency manipulator tag

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Currency Manipulation

Mains level: Impact of unilateral moves by US on India and global economy


News

Context

  1. The uncertainties of US Treasury Department that it would be adding India to the list of potential currency manipulators countries or in the watch-list is often seen in news.
  2. All this comes against the backdrop of growing global trade tensions.

What is Currency Manipulation?

  1. Currency manipulation refers to actions taken by governments to change the value of their currencies relative to other currencies in order to bring about some desirable objective.
  2. The typical claim – often doubtful – is that countries manipulate their currencies in order to make their exports effectively cheaper on the world market and in turn make imports more expensive.

Assessment Criteria used by US

  1. The US Treasury has established thresholds for the three criteria.
  • First, a significant bilateral trade surplus with the US is one that is at least $20 billion;
  • Second, a material current account surplus is one that is at least 3% of GDP; and
  • Third, persistent, one-sided intervention reflected in repeated net purchases of foreign currency and total at least 2% of an economy’s GDP over a year.
  1. The Treasury’s goal is to focus attention on those nations whose bilateral trade is most significant to the US economy and whose policies are the most material for the global economy.

India in the Watch-list

  1. The US Treasury, in its report, said no major trading partner met the criteria to be designated as manipulating its currency.
  2. It has kept India, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Switzerland on the monitoring list.
  3. It said that India’s circumstances have shifted markedly, as the RBI’s net sales of forex over the first six months of 2018 led net purchases fall to $4 billion, or 0.2% of GDP.
  4. The rupee has depreciated by 13.05% this fiscal.

Do India need to worry?

  1. India has a goods trade surplus with the US of $23 billion in 2017 compared to $375 billion trade surplus with China.
  2. India is set to import $2 billion of crude oil and around $2 billion of LNG from the US
  3. Growing energy imports can reduce the surplus to below $20 billion.

Way Forward

  1. India has traditionally tried to balance between preventing excess currency appreciation on the one hand and protecting domestic financial stability on the other.
  2. India being on the watch list could restrict the RBI in the foreign exchange operations it needs to pursue to protect financial stability.
  3. This comes when global capital flows threaten to overwhelm domestic monetary policy.
  4. The two most obvious consequences could be an appreciating rupee as well as excess liquidity that messes with the interest rate policy of the RBI.
  5. Indian policymakers have to be sensitive for the unpredictable nature of policy-making in the US under Trump, especially concerning global trade.
Oct, 03, 2018

[op-ed snap] The new deals — on U.S.-Mexico-Canada pact

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NAFTA, USMCA

Mains level: Protectionist approach being taken by the US and its impact on global economy


Context

Replacing NAFTA

  1. After more than a year of intense negotiation, the U.S., Canada and Mexico managed to arrive at a revised trade agreement on Sunday to replace the quarter-century-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  2. The deal does not do anything new to promote the cause of free trade among the North American nations but it achieves the objective of averting any significant damage to the international trade system
  3. This is the best anyone could possibly hope for in the midst of the global trade war that began this year

Details of the new deal

  1. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) makes several changes to NAFTA
  2. There are tweaks to production quotas applied to Canada’s dairy industry
  3. Under the new deal, Canada will have to allow American dairy producers to compete against locals, a move that will favour Canadian consumers
  4. The U.S. agreed to retain Chapter 19 and Chapter 20 dispute-settlement mechanisms as a compromise
  5. This will help Canada and Mexico deal with protectionist duties imposed by the U.S.

Why the deal is not a big achievement?

  1. Not all the amendments are congenial to the prospects of free trade
  2. Unlike other free trade deals entered into by governments, the present one attempts to micromanage trade in a way that benefits specific interest groups at the cost of the overall economy
  3. The new labour regulations and rules of origin will add to the cost of production of goods such as cars, thus making them uncompetitive in the global market
  4. The USMCA mandates a minimum wage that is above the market wage on labour employed in Mexico, yet another move that will make North America a tough place to do business
  5. Foreign investors may now have fewer protections from unfriendly local laws as the accord does away with resolutions through multilateral dispute panels for certain sectors

Prospects for India

  1. Announcing the USMCA, Mr Trump signalled he would now extend his ‘all or nothing’ approach to resetting trade ties with the European Union, China, Japan and India
  2. Terming India “the tariff king”, he said it had sought to start negotiations immediately
  3. India’s trade negotiators will now have their task cut out if they want to protect exporters’ access to one of the country’s largest markets for its services and merchandise
Sep, 08, 2018

[op-ed snap] 2+2 = ?: On India-US defence relationship

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: COMCASA, 2+2 dialogue

Mains level: Renewed vigour in India-US relationship and its advantages for India


Context

Successful 2+2 dialogue

  1. The India-U.S. defence relationship has been given a significant boost with the three agreements signed after the inaugural 2+2 Dialogue in Delhi
  2. These are:
  • the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
  • “hotlines” between the Defence and Foreign Ministers of both countries
  • the first tri-services military exercises between the two countries

Importance of COMCASA

  1. COMCASA is the third of four “foundational”, or enabling, agreements signed by India after more than a decade of negotiations
  2. It is perceived as an inevitable consequence of a large amount of U.S. defence hardware it has been purchasing
  3. This will increase, going forward, given the U.S. decision to include India in the top tier of countries entitled to Strategic Trade Authorisation (STA-1)

Limiting China’s expansion

  1. Both sides agreed to cooperate on fighting terrorism, advancing “a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region” and promoting sustainable “debt-financing” in the region
  2. The last two points are clearly aimed at Beijing’s role in the South China Sea and the Belt and Road Initiative projects, respectively

Concerns that remain

  1. While trade was addressed, India did not receive a clear-cut assurance of its GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) status being restored, or of waivers on steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by Washington
  2. U.S. officials said clearly that they expect India to increase imports of American oil and gas as well as aircraft in order to wipe out the trade surplus India enjoys
  3. The U.S.’s other demand, to “zero out” oil imports from Iran by November, is simply unreasonable
  4. It would hurt India dearly not only because of costs at a time when the dollar is strengthening and fuel prices are going up but also in terms of its substantial engagement with Iran
  5. No public statement was made on what the U.S. will do on India’s investment in the Chabahar port once its full sanctions kick in on November 4
  6. American officials also gave no firm commitment in their statements that India will receive a waiver to purchase Russian hardware, beginning with the S-400 missile system

Way Forward

  1. The 2+2 discussions, held after two previous cancellations this year, brought much-needed focus on the India-U.S. relationship after months of drift and occasional discord
  2. India appears to have taken a leap of faith on its own concerns, expecting that the Trump administration will come through on waiving sanctions and being more flexible on trade issues
  3. Delhi must work with Washington in the next few months to ensure that the benefits from the 2+2 dialogue don’t add up only on the other side
Sep, 07, 2018

India signs landmark defence pact with U.S.

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 2+2 Dialogue, COMCASA, LEMOA, GSOMIA

Mains level: The newscard talks of success of the 2+2 Dialogue.


News

Fruitful conclusion of 2+2 Dialogue

  1. India and the United States sealed the landmark Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will lead to a new generation of bilateral military partnership.
  2. Apart from the agreement both sides also called on Pakistan to stop terrorist strikes on other countries and urged for maritime freedom in the Indo-Pacific region.

What will COMCASA provide?

  1. India has already signed two of them General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002 and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016.
  2. The COMCASA will allow the U.S. to transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin platforms like C-17, C-130 and P-8I aircraft.
  3. It comes into force immediately and is valid for 10 years.

Specific additional provisions of the Agreement

  1. Data acquired through such systems cannot be disclosed or transferred to any person or entity without India’s consent.
  2. Both countries will implement this agreement in a manner that is consistent with the national security interests of the other.
  3. India and the U.S. will also hold a first-ever tri service joint exercise on the east coast of India in 2019.

Role for private sector

  1. Both sides announced their readiness to begin negotiations on an Industrial Security Annex (ISA) that would allow Indian private sector to collaborate with the U.S. defence industry.
  2. The GSOMIA allows sharing of classified information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Indian government and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) but not with Indian private companies.
  3. To further defence innovation, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defence Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX).
  4. This MoI will look into joint projects for co-production and co-development projects through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
Sep, 06, 2018

Trade talks stuck as U.S. presses oil, aircraft sales to India

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: The newscard talks of uncertainty of Trump administration over its strategic relation with India merely over India’s trade surplus with the US.


News

Crosshairs of Trump administration

  1. India and the United States are in a deadlock over contentious trade issues.
  2. This comes after the Trump administration sought a formal commitment of additional purchases of $10 billion annually for the next three years, as part of a trade agreement under negotiation.
  3. has a surplus of $23 billion in trade with America, and the U.S. wants to wipe that off by forcing more imports by New Delhi, as part of a proposed trade agreement.

Reviewing the GSP status for India

  1. The USTR had launched a review of India’s GSP status, which allows preferential treatment to certain number of specified goods from beneficiary countries.
  2. Earlier signals from the USTR suggested there could be a resolution by India, rationalizing the trade margin over medical devices, and for India by reducing the steel and aluminum tariffs.
  3. But the draft agreement prepared by the USTR sought concessions from India on Compulsory Registration Order that governs standards in telecom equipment, American exports of boric acid, pork, poultry and dairy.

Overt expectations by US

  1. American interlocutors took Indian officials by surprise last month with a draft agreement that committed additional imports by India, in civilian aircraft and natural gas.
  2. With talks in stalemate, the U.S is proceeding with its review of India’s GSP status and India is moving ahead with retaliatory tariffs.
  3. Postponed twice, India’s retaliatory tariffs are now set to come into force on September 18.
  4. Meanwhile, there is a shadow of uncertainty over the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) that was announced for the last week of October.
  5. India was expecting to negotiate general market access issues at the Trade Policy Forum (TPF), but the USTR wanted all of them resolved at earliest.

Fight for Market Access

  1. The US must understand that there are different ways of addressing the trade deficit.
  2. With the US restarting oil and natural gas exports Indian imports in these sectors have been going up.
  3. In the first six months of this year, US exports to India have gone up by 28% compared to last year.
  4. The US should not be hasty. There has been a decrease in the deficit last year by about 5% or about $1.5 Bn because India imports gas and oil from the United States.
  5. According to ballpark figures, this calendar year we are likely to import up to US $2.5 billion in oil and gas. This must be acknowledged by the US.
Sep, 05, 2018

[op-ed snap] Where interests meet

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 2 + 2 dialogue

Mains level: India’s partnership with the US over years and recent developments related to it


Context

Balanced India-US relationship

  1. The idea that India-US relations are enveloped by a crisis has been a recurring theme for the last quarter of a century and more
  2. Yet, since the end of the Cold War, the bilateral relationship has made a steady advance across a broad front
  3. Despite the presumption or hope in many sections at home and abroad that something will surely trip up India and the US, their partnership has become stronger by the day

India’s growing ties with the US

  1. For India, ties with the US have emerged as the most comprehensive among all its major power relationships
  2. In terms of breadth, it ranges from defence and high technology cooperation to a substantive people-to-people relationship
  3. In terms of weight, it is the most important economic relationship — annual two-way trade in goods and services now stands at nearly $140 billion and mutual investments are on the way up
  4. There is also a growing convergence of perspectives on regional and international affairs
  5. Few other powers have been as positive as the US in addressing either India’s concerns about terrorism in the region or as supportive of its aspirations for a larger international role

Are Trump’s policies harmful to India?

  1. Although many of America’s traditional partners have found themselves at the receiving end of Trump’s effort to reorient US foreign policy, the consequences for India have not been too severe to cope with
  2. On the two primary areas of concern for India — Pakistan and China — Delhi has no reason to complain about Trump’s policies
  3. On the sources of terror in Pakistan and its destabilisation of Afghanistan, Trump has mounted the kind of pressure on Rawalpindi that his predecessors were not willing to consider
  4. Trump’s pushback against China’s assertive policies has already opened up new diplomatic space for Delhi in the Indo-Pacific, including with Beijing

Dealing with US sanctions on trading with Russia

  1. Since the end of the Cold War, India did not have to look over its shoulder in its engagement with either Russia or America
  2. Delhi will now have to deal with this new situation
  3. The new US law that mandates sanctions against countries that buy arms from Russia is at the centre of the current debate
  4. Washington has no reason to wreck the growing military relationship with India — which has seen the US expand its share in arms sales to India at the expense of Russia
  5. India, on its part, needs to take full advantage of the strategic possibilities with the US for modernising India’s military as well as its defence industrial base

Managing Iran problem

  1. The Iran problem might be a lot easier to manage
  2. It’s been done before amidst the continuing confrontation between Tehran and Washington
  3. More than a decade ago, the UPA government refused to sacrifice India’s rising stakes in the US relationship for the sake of Iran
  4. Also, India’s interests are rapidly rising in the UAE and Saudi Arabia — two countries that are in a deepening conflict with Iran

Limiting incoming damage

  1. Driven by powerful domestic political considerations, Trump has chosen to confront all of America’s major economic partners on ending the trade imbalance
  2. India is certainly on the list of countries with a trade surplus with the US
  3. Delhi must find ways to limit the damage to its most important trade relationship through practical negotiations

Way Forward

  1. India and the United States have advanced their partnership over the last few years by sticking to two important principles
  2. One is the political commitment not to let any one problem derail the broader partnership and the other is to continue to expand the areas of engagement that yield additional gains for both
  3. The two sides must try and break from the frustrating tradition of incrementalism via 2 + 2 dialogue which could also help set more ambitious goals for the future
  4. Translating the alignment of interests into concrete outcomes requires the development of a new framework for burden-sharing and strategic coordination
Sep, 01, 2018

[op-ed snap] India and the U.S. — it’s complicated

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 2+2 talks

Mains level: India-US partnership in recent years


Context

2 + 2 dialogue

  1. The first round of the India-U.S. 2+2 talks at the level of External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister of India and their counterparts Secretary of State and Defence Secretary of the US is scheduled for September 6 in Delhi
  2. It appears perfectly logical when seen against the two-decade-old trend line of India-U.S. relations
  3. The trend line has not been smooth but the trajectory definitively reflects a growing strategic engagement

Strategic convergence between India & the US

  1. The end of the Cold War provided an opportunity to both countries to review their relationship in the light of changing global and regional realities
  2. With the opening of the Indian economy, the American private sector began to look at India with greater interest
  3. Another factor is the political coming of age of the three-million-strong Indian diaspora

Defense dialogues & cooperation

  1. The defence dialogue began in 1995 with the setting up of the Defence Policy Group at the level of the Defence Secretary and his Pentagon counterpart and three Steering Groups to develop exchanges between the Services
  2. The strategic dialogue covering nuclear issues shifted gears following the nuclear tests of 1998 and imposition of sanctions by the U.S.
  3. A decade later, this was formalised and enlarged into the India-U.S. Defence Framework Agreement which was renewed for 10 years in 2015
  4. Today, the U.S. is the country with which India undertakes the largest number of military exercises which have gradually evolved in scale and complexity
  5. In 2016, India was designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ country
  6. Another step forward in the middle of this year was the inclusion of India in the Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) category, putting it on a par with allies in terms of technology access

Foundational agreements remain a challenge

  1. Acquiring U.S. high technology comes with its own set of obligations in terms of ensuring its security
  2. These take the form of various undertakings often described as foundational agreements
  3. The first of these was GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement) which India signed in 2002
  4. The other three related to logistics support, communications compatibility and security, and exchanges of geospatial information
  5. Now the India-specific Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) is likely to be signed
  6. It makes it possible to install high-end secure communication equipment on U.S. platforms that we have been acquiring

Further challenges

  • The first is the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) enacted last year which enables the U.S. government to sanction countries that engage in ‘significant transactions’ with Russian military and intelligence entities
  1. The proposed purchase of the S-400 missile defence system would attract CAATSA sanctions
  2. A waiver provision has now been introduced to cover India, Indonesia and VietnamIt requires certification by the U.S. that the country concerned is gradually reducing its dependency on Russian equipment and cooperating with the U.S. on critical security issues
  3. Indian concerns on this need to be addressed
  • The second relates to U.S. sanctions on Iran after its unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal
  1. Iranian crude imports have grown significantly in recent years and India also stepped up its involvement in developing Chabahar port
  2. The port provides connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia
  3. The Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act (2012) contains a waiver provision in case of activities for reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan, which is a U.S. priority too

Way Forward

  1. Creative thinking will be needed in the 2+2 dialogue to overcome these challenges
  2. In order to realise the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region (2015), both countries will have to nurture the habit of talking and working together to diminish some of the prickliness in the partnership
Aug, 30, 2018

2+2 talks to focus on China

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 2+2 Dialogue

Mains level:  India-US defence relations and its impact on India’s traditional partners.


News

First 2+2 Dialogue

  1. The first U.S.-India 2+2 dialogues next week in New Delhi will discuss regional and strategic issues of Asia.
  2. S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis will be travelling to India for the dialogue, which has been postponed twice.

Ties with Russia at stake

  1. US is mindful of India’s legacy ties with Russia, but does not appreciate its continuing defence cooperation with it.
  2. It is not sure of granting a waiver to India from sanctions if it went ahead with the planned purchase of S-400 missile defence system from Russia.
  3. However the dialogue is meant to enhance defence requirements and alternatives for India

Focussed at countering China

  1. S. administration is expecting concrete outcomes such as concluding an enabling agreement on communication and expanding the scope of military exercises.
  2. It aims at operationalising India-U.S. partnership in Asia under the agenda.
  3. S. reiterated that its Asia Pacific policy is an inclusive strategy.
  4. Considering the OBOR and militarisation of the South China Sea, US emphasizes to have an alternative for economic and strategic partnership with agenda under the agenda.
Aug, 29, 2018

[op-ed snap] Easing tensions: on U.S.-Mexico trade deal

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NAFTA

Mains level: U.S. dominant approach in the world economy and how to deal with it


Context

US-Mexico NAFTA deal

  1. The United States and Mexico have reached a breakthrough bilateral trade agreement replacing the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  2. This is after Mexico agreed to concessions demanded by the Donald Trump administration
  3. The U.S.-Mexico bilateral trade deal comes in the aftermath of President Trump’s statement in June that he might enter into separate trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, thus effectively junking the tripartite NAFTA deal
  4. U.S. has also invited Canada to join talks for a renegotiation of trade terms in favour of U.S. interests

What’s in the new deal?

  1. According to the new agreement, 75% of all automobile content must be made regionally, which is higher than the current level of 62.5%
  2. Further, 40-45% of such content must be manufactured using labour that costs at least $16 an hour
  3. The U.S. hopes that this will discourage manufacturers from moving their facilities to Mexico, where labour is available at rates lower than in the U.S.

Lessons from this deal

  1. Mexico’s decision could set an example for other countries which have resorted to retaliatory tariffs to deal with Mr. Trump’s aggressive trade war against them
  2. There can be no doubt that Mr. Trump’s protectionist trade policy, including the current deal which increases restrictions on cross-border trade in order to protect U.S. jobs, is bad for the global economy
  3. However, the best way to win the trade war against the U.S. may simply be to accept “defeat” by refusing to double down on retaliatory tariffs

Why accept defeat?

  1. Retaliatory tariffs can only cause further harm to the world economy by increasing the burden of taxes on the private sector, which is crucial to spur growth and create jobs
  2. Further, there is no reason for America’s trading partners, in an attempt to protect their domestic producers, to repeat Mr Trump’s mistake of depriving domestic consumers of access to useful foreign goods

Way Forward

  1. The right response to Mr Trump’s trade war will be to abstain from any mutually destructive tit-for-tat tariff regimes while simultaneously pushing for peace talks

Back2Basics

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

  1. The North American Free Trade Agreement is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America
  2. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994
  3. The goal of NAFTA was to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the U.S., Canada and Mexico
  4. NAFTA has two supplements: the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC)
  5. NAFTA established the CANAMEX Corridor for road transport between Canada and Mexico, also proposed for use by rail, pipeline, and fibre optic telecommunications infrastructure
  6. A study in 2007 found that NAFTA had “a substantial impact on international trade volumes, but a modest effect on prices and welfare”
  7. If the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) had come into effect, existing agreements such as NAFTA would be reduced to those provisions that do not conflict with the TPP, or that require greater trade liberalization than the TPP
Aug, 01, 2018

India gets STA-1 status from U.S.

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: STA-1

Mains level:  India-US defence relations.


News

A strategic push for India

  1. US government granted India the status of STA-1 a trading partner equivalent to its closest allies in the NATO. This decision is likely to boost India’s defence trade with the U.S.
  2. The US decision to move India into Tier-1 of the Department of Commerce’s Strategic Trade Authorisation (STA) license is a logical culmination to India’s designation as a Major Defence Partner of the US
  3. It is a reaffirmation of India’s impeccable record as a responsible member of the concerned multilateral export control regimes.
  4. As a result of this move, India will require less number of licences for acquiring U.S. defence exports.
  5. Apart from India, other Asian countries in the STA-1 list are Japan and South Korea.

Way Forward

  1. The move is a sign of trust not only in the relationship but also on India’s capabilities as an economic and a security partner.
  2. This is because it also presupposes that India has the multilateral export control regime in place, which would allow the transfer of more sensitive defense technologies and dual use technologies to India and without the risk of any proliferation.
  3. Currently, 36 countries, mostly all NATO nations, have this status, so it’s a very elevated status from an export control point of view.
Jul, 26, 2018

India, US set to sign pact for secure military communications

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: COMCASA, LEMOA, BECA

Mains level: Military partnership of India with other countries


News

COMCASA to be signed

  1. India and the US are likely to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
  2. It would be a bilateral pact between the two countries for secure military communications

Modified CISMOA

  1. The general agreement signed by the US with other countries is called the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) but the name was changed to COMCASA to reflect its India-specific nature
  2. COMCASA is meant to provide a legal framework for transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that would facilitate “interoperability” between their forces — and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secured data links

3 foundational agreements

  1. COMCASA is part of a set of three military agreements that the US considers “foundational” for a functional military relationship
  2. In August 2016, India had signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which allows the military of each country to replenish from the other’s bases
  3. Negotiations on the third agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), have not yet begun
Jul, 17, 2018

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: India and Trump’s world

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, G-7

Mains level: Trump’s new international relations stance & its impact on India


Context

America’s changed international relations policy

  1. A day before he met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Trump put the European Union — whose members are some of America’s oldest allies and friends — at the top of the list of America’s foes
  2. His outburst against the EU might be shocking, but it is part of an emerging pattern
  3. Trump quarrelled with America’s leading economic partners in the G-7 summit last month on issues relating to trade
  4. At the summit of the world’s most powerful military alliance — the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Trump accused Germany of being “totally controlled by Russia”
  5. Trump warned the NATO allies that if they did not contribute more to the collective defence burden, America would go its own way

Trump’s list of political demolitions in Europe

  1. One is the so-called special relationship between America and Britain. For nearly a century, the Anglo-American partnership has been the strongest bilateral relationship in the world
  2. Two, he is threatening to dismantle NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance
  3. Three, despite the huge resistance at home and in Europe, Trump seems determined to enhance the engagement with Putin’s Russia
  4. Fourth, he is sustaining the pressure on EU and China to change the terms of economic engagement with the United States

Impact of trump on India’s diplomacy

  1. Trump is compelling India to rethink its longstanding foreign policy assumptions
  2. The consensus on economic globalisation and a relative harmony among the major powers — which defined the post Cold War era — is now breaking down
  3. The tensions between the US and Russia and Moscow’s deepening embrace of Beijing have certainly created problems for India

What’s in store for India?

  1. As a late convert to economic globalisation, India will have much to lose, if the current trading order breaks down
  2. Claiming that it is “WTO compliant” is a poor strategy when the big boys are changing the trading rules

What does India need to do?

  1. Delhi needs a flexible negotiating strategy founded in a more ambitious internal reform agenda
  2. Equally important is the need for India to come to terms with Trump’s deconstruction of the “West”
  3. It is rarely that a dominant power seeks to overthrow the status quo
  4. Trump is doing precisely that in questioning the utility of the collective Western institutions built after the Second World War and demanding a re-arrangement of burdens and benefits between the US and its partners
  5. Delhi must avoid conflict with the powers with which it has serious disputes
  6. It also needs to lift self-imposed limits on security cooperation with the powers that are ready to boost India’s material power

Way Forward

  1. Through the 20th century, India’s foreign policy has been shaped by the impulse to stand up against the West — initially against colonialism and later against Western security alliances
  2. In the 21st century, India’s efforts to construct closer relations with the US, have been slowed by the presumed political centrality of retaining “strategic autonomy” from the West
  3.  In these troubled times, transactional diplomacy, and not political posturing, holds the key to achieving India’s ambitious national goals
Jul, 04, 2018

[op-ed snap] The bilateral limits of hype: on India-U.S. relations

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: India-US relations in recent past and way forward


Context

Transactional nature of American foreign policy

  1. The postponement of the India-U.S. 2+2 dialogue between the Foreign and Defence Ministers of both countries, that had been scheduled for July 6 has to be seen with the personality of Mr. Trump
  2. Mr. Trump has set his eyes on spectacles that suit him
  3. His every move on the global stage enrages his domestic political opponents and the professional strategic community alike and he is happy, as this keeps his political base constantly on the boil
  4. North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, trade deficit, and all global challenges before America are the faults of his predecessors, he repeatedly tells supporters

Impact of this policy on ties

  1. China today threatens the dominance of the U.S., but America’s security establishment and political elite are obsessed with Russia
  2. India gets caught in that internal American fight too
  3. An American law now requires the President to impose sanctions on any country that has significant security relations with Russia
  4. India and China are in the same basket for Mr. Trump on many issues that agitate him
  5. His administration considers India and China as violators of intellectual property laws, as countries that put barriers to trade and subsidise exports and use state power to control markets
  6. Amongst all adversaries, the Pentagon and the U.S. arms industry work in India’s favor

Way forward

  1. India-U.S. relations will be better off without hype and grand theories, often encouraged by the government
  2. The U.S. has overlapping interests with China, and India has overlapping interests with both
  3. Avoiding the hyperbole could help manage India’s troubles with Pakistan and China better
Jun, 30, 2018

[op-ed snap] Managing the turbulence in India-US relations

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CAATSA, 2+2 dialogue

Mains level: Secondary sanctions policy of the US and its possible impacts on India


Context

Hard times for India-US relationship

  1. The US has asked all countries, including India, to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero by 4 November
  2. If India fails to do this, its companies will face the same sanctions as any other violator of this American diktat
  3. This comes against the backdrop of more potential friction building up between the two countries
  4. India is in the process of purchasing S400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia which could mean more sanctions for New Delhi, as per a US law called “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA)
  5. In addition to these issues, US President Donald Trump has been quite vocal about the tariffs imposed by India on American goods
  6. Also, the proposed 2+2 dialogue has been canceled unilaterally by the US

What can India do in these turbulent times?

  1. India needs to make a clear distinction between the sanctions that it will face on account of importing oil from Iran and those that will result from India’s defense partnership with Russia
  • There are many private companies involved in the process of importing oil from Iran, primarily in the shipping, insurance and refinery sectors which by the fear of being cut off from the US will most likely pull out of Iran
  • By hurting India’s defense acquisitions from Russia, the US is putting itself in the line of fire as India is the world’s largest arms importer and the US has made rapid strides in this market in the past decade. Future deals with the US could be affected by this move
  • American objectives are far clearer in the case of Iran where Mr. Trump wants to significantly degrade Iranian capabilities to acquire nuclear weapons and to interfere in other countries in the region

What is the US policy?

  1. American sanctions are always more effective in countries which are economically integrated with America than those which are not
  2. The US uses its economic and military links as leverage in its non-proliferation goals
  3. The US seeks the support of other countries to build a tighter multilateral sanctions regime
  4. When this support doesn’t come voluntarily, the US uses secondary sanctions to extract coerced support from other countries
  5. Being cut off from the American market and financial system is too high a cost to pay for defending a country like Iran

Way forward

  1. India’s acquisition of Russian-made S400 missile systems can be managed at the level of the government and public sector, with little role for private companies
  2. This suggests that India should stay firm on the S400 deal
  3. On Iran, New Delhi may not be left with many options
  4. The Indian response will have to be in light of the American threat of secondary sanctions for importing Iranian oil
Jun, 21, 2018

US Senate passes defence bill without CAATSA waiver

Image result for us senate house of representatives difference

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CAATSA, NDAA

Mains level: Impact of US domestic policies on India


News

National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for 2019

  1. The U.S Senate has ignored the Donald Trump administration’s request for powers to waiver provisions of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)
  2. The act requires it to impose sanctions on countries that have “significant” defense relations with Russia
  3. The Senate version of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for 2019 has no waiver provisions
  4. The version of the NDAA 2019 passed earlier by the House of Representatives has a provision for waiver in rules attached to it

Impact on India

  1. India is caught in the crossfire of the bipartisan law against Russia
  2. The House version allows for waivers for 180 days, provided the administration certifies that the country in question is scaling back its ties with Russia
  3. This formulation is inadequate to resolve the Indian situation, as it links waiver to India rolling back ties with Russia
Jun, 01, 2018

Trilateral war games to kick off next week

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Malabar trilateral exercise

Mains level: Role of India in containing China’s rising hegemony across Pacific and Indian ocean


News

Malabar trilateral naval war games

  1. India, Japan, and the U.S. will hold the annual Malabar trilateral naval war games off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea from June 6-15
  2. The exercise comes at a time of increased friction between China and the U.S. along with the nations bordering the South China Sea

Increased focus on India

  1. The U.S. has just renamed its Pacific command as Indo-Pacific command
  2. This is to underscore its commitment to the region in line with its Indo-Pacific strategy
Apr, 16, 2018

U.S. adds India to currency watch list with China

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Currency monitoring list

Mains level: Trade war between various nations and its impact on India


News

Currency monitoring list

  1. The U.S. Treasury added India to its watch list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies, joining China and four others (Germany, Japan, Korea and Switzerland)
  2. The “monitoring list” includes those major trading partners of the US that merit close attention to their currency practices

Why this list?

  1. The Treasury report is required by Congress to identify countries that are trying to artificially manage the value of their currency to gain a trade advantage, for example by keeping the exchange rate low to promote cheaper exports
  2. Countries remain on the list for two report cycles to help ensure that any improvement in performance versus the criteria is durable and is not due to temporary factors

Impact on India

  1. Treasury called for all the countries on the list to implement economic reforms to address their surpluses
  2. India would have to undertake reforms to address large trade imbalance with USA
Apr, 14, 2018

[op-ed snap] Reappraising India-US: Defence cooperation

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FMS scheme, foundational agreements, “2+2” dialogues, etc.

Mains level: The positive outcomes of the long standing Indo-US relationship and future expectations of India from the US.


News

Concern for India

  1. For India it is the emerging Moscow-Beijing axis and Russia’s courtship of Pakistan that should ring alarm bells
  2. Given that nations have neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies, only permanent interests, it is perhaps time for us to consider an agonising policy reappraisal

The US was acted at the right time

  1. After the cold war, the US, with an excellent sense of timing, reached out with proposals for military-to-military cooperation in 1991
  2. The Indian Navy, keen to shed its isolation, initiated the first Indo-US naval exercises to be named “Malabar” in May 1992
  3. The professional respect and bonhomie generated by a quarter century of naval engagement has acted as a catalyst in Indo-US relations

Other positive outcomes of the Indo-US relationship

  1. The unprecedented US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, which followed in 2008, accorded India the “de facto” status of a nuclear weapon state without signing the Non Proliferation Treaty
  2. In 2016, India was accorded the status of Major Defence Partner by the US Congress
  3. The 2004 Agreement on Next Steps in Strategic Partnership was followed by a Defence Framework Agreement in 2005 and the 2012 Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), envisaging the transfer of advanced technologies to India
  4. The DTTI has, however, made little actual progress because of divergent objectives
  5. While India seeks technology, the US remains focused on trade

The issue of “foundational agreement”

  1. A major impediment in the Indo-US defence relationship has been India’s reluctance to sign the “foundational agreements” required by the US to enhance defence ties
  2. A delay in signing these will deprive India of high-tech equipment that should accompany US hardware, and prevent the sharing of useful geospatial information between the two militaries

The Chinese way of containing India

  1. China, with five times India’s GDP, is surging ahead to attain economic, military and technological parity with the US
  2. Aiming to be Asia’s sole hegemon, China has armed Pakistan and enlisted it as a surrogate, thereby containing India within a South Asian “box”

Issue of defence industrial base

  1. India’s military, in terms of size, capability and professionalism, is no doubt third or fourth in the world pecking order
  2. However, one would hesitate to call it as the “world’s greatest” because it lacks a military-industrial support base and is abjectly dependent on imported weaponry

Recent step taken by India and the US: “2+2” dialogue

  1. In order to elevate the Indo-US relationship to a strategic level and resolve many outstanding bilateral issues, Trump and Modi had agreed to establish a “2+2” dialogue between the respective defence and foreign ministers
  2. As and when the “2+2” dialogue does take place, the Indian side would do well to remind their US interlocutors that in the past three decades the USSR and Russia have, amongst other items, leased two nuclear submarines, sold an aircraft-carrier, and transferred technology for a supersonic cruise missile to India
  3. So, if the US is to deliver on tall promises, some serious re-thinking may be required on Capitol Hill
Apr, 13, 2018

US announces GSP eligibility review of India

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Generalized System of Preferences, market access

Mains level: Trade war between various nations and its impact on global economy


News

Addressing market access concerns of India

  1. The US has announced eligibility review of India for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
  2. This decision is based on the market access concerns the US has with India

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

  1. The GSP is the largest and oldest US trade preference programme and is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries
  2. Introduced in 1976, a wide range of industrial and agricultural products originating from certain developing countries are given preferential access to American markets
  3. Congress last month had voted to renew the GSP through 2020

Why such review?

  1. The petitions filed by the US dairy industry and the US medical device industry requested a review of India’s GSP benefits
  2. They wanted an investigation of Indian trade barriers affecting the US exports in those sectors
  3. According to them, India has implemented a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on US commerce

Impact on India

  1. India was the biggest beneficiary of GSP in 2017
  2. GSP enables duty-free entry of 3,500 product lines, which benefits exporters of textiles, engineering, gems and jeweler and chemical products from India
  3. Any adverse decision could hurt India’s exports to the US
Apr, 10, 2018

India-US: ‘2-by-2’ dialogue put off, India says no to defence minister talks

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ‘2-by-2’ dialogue, COMCASA, BECA, LEMOA

Mains level: India-US ties in recent times and various issues surrounding them


News

Inaugural ‘2-by-2’ dialogue put off

  1. The ‘2-by-2’ dialogue between India’s foreign and defense ministers and US secretaries of state and defense has been called off
  2. The inaugural ‘2-by-2’ dialogue was scheduled to be held in Washington this month

Why this change?

  1. The dialogue was postponed as the US Secretary of State-designate, Mike Pompeo is still awaiting his confirmation by the US Senate
  2. The offer of a formal meeting between defense ministers was made by the US to India but India declined this offer

Pressure to sign the two foundational agreements for defense 

  1. The US side has been pressing the Indian side to sign the two foundational agreements for defense cooperation
  2. These are Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), earlier known as the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA); and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)
  3. In 2016, India and the US had signed the third foundational agreement: Logistical Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which has since been operationalized

Back2Basics

Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) & Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)

  1. COMCASA is needed if any classified military information is required to be exchanged between US and Indian armed forces
  2. It would allow India to fully utilize the communication security equipment on military platforms it imports from the US
  3. BECA provides for sharing and data gathering of geospatial information between the two militaries
Apr, 09, 2018

[op-ed snap] US and India must work on economic ties

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: The United States-India Science Technology and Endowment Fund

Mains level: Different areas of bilateral cooperation that can significantly increase economic growth in both the countries.


News

India and the US are facing similar economic challenges

  1. Both countries need to rapidly create new jobs, move people into the middle class and keep them there,
  2. and take advantage of the opportunities that globalization can bring while mitigating its challenges to sustainable domestic growth and strong and equitable democratic societies
  3. Contending with these challenges will require effective domestic economic policies that address not just interest rates and investment, but also healthcare and education

The US-India economic relationship has a strong foundation

  1. Bilateral trade has more than doubled since 2006, reaching $115 billion in 2016
  2. The same year, there was $32.9 billion US foreign direct investment (FDI) in India, and in 2015 there was $12.1 billion Indian FDI in the US
  3. Through a coordinated strategy of investment and innovation, a smart US-India economic partnership can help each country improve the condition of its people

Three areas of bilateral cooperation in particular that can boost economic growth in both countries
FIRST: The two countries must invest in infrastructure

  1. According to finance ministry, India needs to invest $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years to meet its infrastructure needs,
  2. while the US department of transportation estimates that an additional $800 billion is needed in the US for bridges and roads alone
  3. To this end, the US department of treasury has been providing technical assistance to help the Pune municipal corporation issue municipal bonds
  4. By expanding this programme, more cities around India could fund their infrastructure needs
  5. Both countries should hold institutional investor summits to facilitate private sector investment in each other’s infrastructure
  6. This focus can boost long-term economic growth and job creation in both countries

SECOND: Need of innovative ways to contend  the changing landscape of employment

  1. As the nature of work changes, creating jobs requires innovation in addition to investment
  2. By holding a bilateral dialogue focused on the future of work, policymakers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, and community leaders can address employment trends
  3. and community needs to refine policy solutions that leverage the changing nature of work to create stable, well-paying jobs and empower citizens
    The United States-India Science Technology and Endowment Fund
  4. The two countries should also expand this fund
  5. It funds research on supporting healthy individuals or empowering citizens through technology conducted by US-Indian teams, with an emphasis on the marketability of the research outcomes
  6. This research can be the basis of building the digital infrastructure necessary to help people find jobs and skills training

THIRD: Importance of subnational(state-to-state) cooperation

  1. While the Indian ministry of external affairs already has an office focused on subnational issues, the US department of state should re-establish and strengthen the office it once had focused on subnational cooperation
  2. In addition, large states and cities should create their own offices of international affairs,
  3. and work with the foreign ministries to connect one another with technical training, capacity building, and best practices
Apr, 07, 2018

US concerned over Russian sanctions' implications on India

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: S-400 missile defense system, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)

Mains level: Cold war 2.0 and its implications on India


News

Possible implications of Russian sanctions

  1. The Pentagon is concerned over the possible implications of Russian sanctions on defense ties between India and the US
  2. India could face sanctions for purchasing high-value military defense items, in particular, state-of-the-art S-400 missile defense system, from Russia under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)

Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)

  1. Section 231 of CAATSA mandates secondary sanctions on those who conduct significant transactions with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors
  2. CAATSA was signed into law in August 2017 and went into effect in January this year
  3. The law mandates the Trump administration to punish entities engaging in a significant transaction with the defense or intelligence sectors of Russia

Why should India be worried about it?

  1. While the US has become its second largest defense supplier, mainly of aircraft and artillery, India still relies heavily on Russian equipment, such as submarines and missiles, that the US has been unwilling to provide
  2. Seventy percent of Indian military hardware is Russian in origin
  3. India is currently in advance stage of negotiations with Russia for five S-400 system worth an estimated USD 4.5 billion. The air defense system includes radar, missile launchers and command center technology
Apr, 03, 2018

India-Japan-US trilateral in New Delhi ahead of Trump-Abe summit

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India-US forum, the trilateral dialogue.

Mains level: The trilateral dialogue


News

 Trilateral dialogue between India, Japan and the US

  1. India will host the strategically important trilateral dialogue between India, Japan and the US this week
  2. The US administration has sent two of its senior diplomats from the State Department  to co-lead the American delegation for the trilateral dialogue

Background of the trilateral dialogue

  1. The India-Japan-US trilateral was launched in December 2011 when Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State
  2. It was elevated to ministerial level in 2015. The inaugural ministerial trilateral was held on September 29, 2015, in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Session
  3. The last ministerial dialogue was also held in New York in September 2017

India-US forum

  1. One of the diplomats will also participate in the India-US Forum, hosted by the Ananta Centre and the Ministry of External Affairs
  2. The India-US Forum is a platform for both American and Indian leaders across the spectrum to discuss complex global and bilateral issues and promote greater cooperation between the two countries through consultation and collaboration
  3. Conveners : Ananta Centre and Ministry of External Affairs
Mar, 27, 2018

U.S., India hold naval training

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: INS Tarkash, Talwar Class Frigate, etc.

Mains level: Defence relationship between India and the US.


News

Exercise with the US Navy

  1. Indian Navy’s Talwar class frigate INS Tarkash has carried out a “greeting and training” exercise with the U.S. Navy’s Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG)
  2. The TRCSG was until now involved in operations against the Islamic State in the Arabian Gulf
  3. INS Tarkash sailed in formation with aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt , guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) and other ships

Other particulars of the exercise

  1. Ten Indian sailors toured spaces aboard Preble such as a combat information centre, a central control station and the bridge, while 10 Preble sailors visited Tarkash
    (during the exercise)

Back2basics

INS Tarkash

  1. NS Tarkash (F50) is the fifth Talwar-class frigate constructed for the Indian Navy. She is part of the second batch of Talwar-class frigates ordered by the Indian Navy
  2. She was built at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia
  3. She was commissioned to Navy service on 9 November 2012 at Kaliningrad and joined the Western Naval Command on 27 December 2012

Talwar-class frigate 

  1. The Talwar-class frigates or Project 11356 are a class of guided missile frigates designed and built by Russia for the Indian Navy
  2. The Talwar-class guided missile frigates are the improved versions of the Krivak III-class (Project 1135) frigates used by the Russian Coast Guard
  3. The design has been further developed as the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate for the Russian Navy
  4. Six ships were built in two batches between 1999 and 2013
Mar, 19, 2018

India, US two-plus-two dialogue postponed: US official

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Two-plus-two meeting

Mains level: Strenthening of India-US relationship in recent years


News

Meeting to be rescheduled

  1. The India-US two-plus-two meeting has been postponed as of now
  2. This is due to uncertainty over the confirmation of the nomination of Mike Pompeo, as the new Secretary of State

About the meeting

  1. The first two-plus-two meeting between India and the US was tentatively scheduled for April 18-19
  2. The two-plus-two dialogue was seen as a vehicle to elevate the strategic relationship between the two countries

Impact on India-US bilateral ties

  1. This would have no impact on the bilateral relationship
  2. In the meetings, this week, the foreign and defense secretaries decided to continue with their agenda
Jan, 30, 2018

[op-ed snap] A pivot in Asia

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The two document shows the rapidly changing relationship between India and the US.(on strategic front)


News

Two important documents released by the USA

  1. The National Defence Strategy (NDS) and the National Security Strategy (NSS) released recently by the U.S. showcase the country’s strategic priorities and the way forward

Importance from India’s point of view

  1. The two documents lay considerable focus on the ‘Indo-Pacific’ and they will serve as crucial policy indicators for India and the region

Shifting of focus

  1. The previous Obama administration too laid considerable focus on Asia-Pacific under its ‘Rebalance to Asia’ strategy
  2. But now the U.S. administration has shifted its focus from the Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific as a reference point of its maritime strategy

National Defence Strategy (NDS)

  1. The NDS is reflective of the changing geopolitical realities in Asia viz.
    (1)  China’s territorial and maritime overtures in the Indian Ocean
    (2) regional instability due to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, and
    (3) the salience of Asian economies in international trade and commerce has brought the region into prominence

Why are these documents crucial for India?

  1. With India as America’s ‘major defence partner’, the NDS seeks to further expand defence cooperation between the two countries with particular emphasis on military purchases
  2. With its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the U.S. is looking for multilateral economic engagement with Asian economies
  3. On the strategic front, apart from building missile defence systems with Japan and South Korea to checkmate North Korea, U.S. has shown keenness to align with the ‘Quad’ to counter China’s rise
Jan, 16, 2018

Indo-US joint military exercise ‘Vajra Prahar’ to be held in Seattle

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Vajra Prahar exercise

Mains level: Indo-US defence cooperation


News

Increasing military cooperation between India and the US

  1. Another edition of the joint military exercise ‘Vajra Prahar’ will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Seattle
  2. The exercise will mainly focus on special operations in urban areas

About the exercise

  1. ‘Vajra Prahar’ is an Indo-US Special Forces joint training exercise conducted alternately in India and the US
  2. Though the exercise began in 2010, there was a gap of three years between 2012 and 2015
  3. The last edition was held in Jodhpur in March 2017

Aim of the exercise

  1. The aim of the exercise is to promote military relations between the two countries by enhancing interoperability and mutual exchange of tactics between Special Forces
  2. The objectives of the joint training is to share the best practices between the two armies and to develop joint strategies by sharing expertise of conducting operations in a counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment
Jan, 12, 2018

US sends clear signal to India: At some point, let us post officers at each other’s combatant commands

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Free Trade Agreement, MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia group, NSG

Mains level: Growing partnership between India and USA


News

Strategic ties between the United States and India set to rise

  1. US ambassador has proposed “reciprocal military liaison officers at each other’s combatant commands” at “some point” in defence relations between the two countries
  2. This suggestion comes two years after India and the US signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) which allows their militaries to work closely and use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies

Current US military liaison arrangements

  1. At present, the US has arrangements to have military liaison officers with some of its NATO allies and close defence partners including Australia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Philippines, New Zealand, Great Britain
  2. Posting liaison officers will mean formalising the robust partnerships between theatre commands, viz Pacific command of the US defence forces

Free Trade Agreement between India and USA

  1. US envoy also proposed a Free Trade Agreement with India in the future
  2. There have been no negotiations between India and the US on FTA so far
  3. The economic partnership should be looked through the strategic lens — as the US looks for alternatives to China in the region

On India joining multilateral export control regimes

  1. India recently joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Wassenaar Arrangements
  2. The US expects India to join the Australia Group on chemical and biological weapons in near future
  3. The USA is working closely with India and our international partners to secure India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group
Dec, 02, 2017

US exporting dirty fuel to already pollution choked India

Note4students

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
Prelims level: Petcoke
Mains level: Environmental Dumping example; Sources of Pollution; Balancing Environmental Conservation and Developmental Needs

News

  1. US oil refineries that are unable to sell a dirty fuel waste product at home are exporting vast quantities of it to India instead.
  2. The US is the biggest producer and exporter of petcoke in the world.
  3. India, last year got almost a fourth of the fuel grade “petcoke” the US ships.
  4. Last year, 65 percent of India’s petcoke came from the US
Petroleum Coke (Petcoke)
  1. Petroleum coke, the leftover from refining Canadian tar sands and other heavy crude, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal.
  2. It also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulfur – a key reason few American companies use it.
Rationale for use
  1. Industry officials say petcoke has been an important fuel for decades, and its use recycles a waste product.
Effect
  1. The petcoke burned in countless factories and plants is contributing to dangerously filthy air in India.
  2. Environmental Pollution Control Authority: imported petcoke used near the capital has 17 times more sulfur than the limit for coal
  3. India’s own petcoke, produced domestically, adds to the pollution.
  4. Health and environmental advocates say the US is exporting an environmental problem.
  5. It’s impossible to gauge how much pollution is from petcoke versus other sources. But experts say it is contributing to the problem.
Measures Taken
  1. The Supreme Court banned petcoke use by some industries in states surrounding the capital and demanded pollution standards that could further limit use nationwide.
Nov, 16, 2017

Indian firms created 1.13 lakh jobs in U.S., says CII

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the CII

Mains level: The study shows India’s contribution in America’s Economy


News

Study by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

  1.  Study: “Indian Roots, American Soil”
  2. It has found that 100 Indian companies have created 1,13,423 jobs in the U.S with an investment of $17.9 billion, across all States
  3. It can be seen as an occasion to shore up political support for continuing economic engagement between the two countries in a political climate of protectionism

Significance of the study

  1. The fifth edition of the biennial study has political significance this year given the Donald Trump administration’s strong views on economic ties that displace American workers
  2. The Indian companies are spending significant amounts in America as part of their CSR initiatives is testimony to the fact they are deeply invested in this country and society
  3. The study found 87% of firms plan to hire more locally in the next five years

Back2basics

Confederation of Indian Industry(CII)

  1. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a premier business association in India which works to create an environment conducive to the growth of industry in the country.
  2. CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process
  3. Founded in 1895, India’s premier business association has over 8,300 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 200,000 enterprises from around 250 national and regional sectoral industry bodies
  4. CII works closely with the Government on policy issues, interfacing with thought leaders, and enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and strategic global linkages
Nov, 14, 2017

[op-ed snap] US policies toward India and Asia need strategic coherence

Danang : U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the final day of the APEC CEO Summit on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in Danang, Vietnam, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. AP/PTI(AP11_10_2017_000071A)

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: How India’s interests can benefit the US, in the Asian region


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the US president’s Asian visit.
  2. And what should be done to counter the assertive Chinese behavior in the region

US President’s official trip to Asia

  1. With stops in Japan, South Korea, China, and now Vietnam, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) summit
  2. In his address to the APEC CEO Summit, he outlined a vision of upholding a “free and open Indo-Pacific”

Is it possible to achieve the target of ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ without India?

  1. The United States cannot achieve that goal without strong Asian partnerships—including with India
  2. Though India is not on the president’s Asia itinerary, the nomenclature alone—Indo-Pacific rather than Asia-Pacific—suggests that India stands rightly to play a central part in the Trump administration’s larger Asia strategy
  3. With long-standing allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia, India offers democratic and economic ballast to deal with the rise of China’s power

How can India counter a more assertive China in the region?

  1. The Indo-Pacific idea recognizes that a rising China has become more assertive as well as authoritarian, and it elevates Washington’s ties with India as an alternative model to all that Beijing represents
  2. By expanding Asia’s geographic net to include the world’s largest democracy, this larger region encompasses a greater balance favoring rule of law, freedom of navigation, open trade, and democracy

 What the US President can do to advance India’s interests(and its asian allies) in the region

  1.  The “Quad” grouping that adds Australia to the robust trilateral of India, Japan, and the United States appears on the verge of revival, a positive step
  2. In addition to strengthening ties to our traditional Asian allies, the president could start by clearly stating support for cooperative economic institutions like the APEC forum
  3. He should call explicitly for APEC to offer membership to India
  4. Asia’s third largest economy deserves to have a seat at the table, and it will help India to be more embedded in the premier regime focused on free and open trade in Asia
  5. To address the urgent need for infrastructure funding in the Asian region, the president should also support a capital base expansion for the World Bank

Trade issues between India and the US

  1. India recognize its famously difficult stances on trade and market access questions
  2. But a narrow focus on the $24 billion trade deficit with India (compared to more than $300 billion with China), should not distract from this larger goal
  3. India need to sort out market access problems and our difficulties with Indian intellectual property rights polices, but these questions are not strategic in nature

The way forward

  1. To meaningfully support a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” the Trump administration will have to be creative in building broad Asian partnerships, especially with its India policy
  2. We need all the allies we can muster
  3. A strong, stable, democratic India committed to a rules-based order will indeed be a “bookend” for the region. Washington will have to alter its economic focus to get there
Oct, 27, 2017

[op-ed snap] Look beyond Af-Pak

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Malabar exercise, Act East policy, Indian Ocean Conference

Mains level: India US relations and way forward


Context

  1. The sentiment in the Donald Trump administration about US-India relations has been generally positive and upbeat
  2. President Trump in his South Asia policy speech came down heavily on Pakistan, warning that it has “much to gain” from partnering with the US in Afghanistan, but “much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists”

The US wants India to play a significant role in the Indo-Pacific region

  1. This year’s Malabar exercise was most complex till date
  2. The largest vessels from American, Indian and Japanese navies demonstrated their power together in the Indian Ocean for the first time
  3. It set a clear example of the combined strength of the three Indo-Pacific democracies

Change in stance

  1. Until now the phrase in vogue has been “Asia-Pacific”
  2. For India, the repeated use of the phrase “Indo-Pacific” marks a shift in the US position
  3. It implies that the US acknowledges the centrality of the Indian Ocean to global peace and security

Indian Ocean region and India’s ambitions

  1. India has great ambitions in the Indian Ocean region
  2. It realises the potential that the Indian Ocean offers to it, economically and strategically
  3. India’s Act East policy involves strengthening its engagement in the Indian Ocean region
  4. India enjoys certain advantages in the region because of its centuries-old civilisational and cultural linkages with a number of countries
  5. The Indian Ocean Conference that is co-hosted by countries in the region like Sri Lanka, Singapore and India is steadily emerging as a forum for engagement of stakeholder countries

US expectation and India’s role

  1. The US seems to be looking at India’s role in the Indian Ocean region as a counter-balance to China
  2. For India, its regional role involves managing relations with all the countries, including China, while at the same time adhering to basic principles like rule of law and freedom of navigation etc
  3. Its regional ambitions are propelled by its security concerns on one hand and its trade and commerce imperatives on the other

Need of the hour: One South Asia policy

  1. The South Asia policy for the US leadership is actually only Af-Pak policy
  2. The South Asia policy needs to anchor around not just Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also India
  3. US military divides Af-Pak and India into Centcom and Pacom respectively
  4. The State Department has to bring both under one South Asia policy
  5. India’s views and sentiments also need to amply reflect in this policy
Oct, 25, 2017

[op-ed snap] For the sake of the Indo-Pacific

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Rohingya crisis, Doklam issue, Paradip port, India’s position in Indo-pacific

Mains level: India-US relationship and way forward


Context

  1. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to New Delhi this week
  2. Visit comes at an important moment for both countries and governments

Relationship between India and USA

  1. The US-India relationship occupied high priority and visibility during the Obama administration
  2. The Donald Trump administration, too, has shown its commitment to the relationship, hosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington DC, earlier this year

Political and security challenges across the Indo-Pacific region

  1. These range from mounting tensions with North Korea, the Rohingya crisis, and India’s own standoff with China over Doklam to the lingering challenges in Afghanistan
  2. The US and India will increasingly need to work together on these
  3. The geo-economics of the Indo-Pacific are as important as the region’s geopolitics
  4. There is a need to put options on the table in order to encourage private capital and cutting-edge technology to invest in the region

US-India commercial ties 

  1. These have seen an uptick in recent years with PM Modi’s market-oriented reforms
  2. India is currently the US’ ninth largest goods trading partner
  3. India is also one of the fastest growing sources of foreign direct investment in the US, at nearly $11 billion
  4. In a groundbreaking development illustrating growing economic convergence, the US delivered its first shipment of crude oil to the Paradip port a few weeks ago
  5. While two-way trade, and investment, between the two countries has increased significantly in the past five years, there is much room to expand the economic partnership

Challenges that American businesses encounter as they compete in the Indian market

  1. Market access barriers for medical devices,
  2. Tariff and non-tariff barriers on ICT products and agricultural goods,
  3. Lack of a strong intellectual property framework that benefits innovation and entrepreneurship

What India desires?

  1. On the US side, movement — even incremental — on a totalization agreement would be a welcome relief for temporary Indian workers and Indian companies from paying an annual social security payment

Shifts in the global economic order by 2050

  1. A recent report predicts dramatic shifts in the global economic order by 2050
  2. Six of the seven largest economies will be emerging economies led by China and India

Importance of economic linkage with the US

  1. India’s position in a part of the world that contains the most important trade corridors necessitates deeper economic linkage with the US
  2. It is crucial for India to be able to develop its infrastructure, attract capital and cutting-edge technology, grow its economy and advance opportunities for its people
  3. India will only benefit by working with American businesses in order to attract private investment in a way that follows global standards for international development
  4. A fully realized US-India economic partnership is necessary to accomplish this
Oct, 25, 2017

India, U.S. to take up ‘high tariff’, visa curbs in Washington meet

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: USIBC and USISPF

Mains Level: Trade between India and the US has significant effects on the economies of both countries. The upcoming talks will expedite the process of achieving ‘trade targets’ of India and the US.


News

Talks between India and the US

  1. India and the U.S. are slated to hold high-level talks this week to boost bilateral trade and investment
  2. On the agenda of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF), scheduled to be held in Washington DC on October 26

Issues to be discussed

  1. Important issues are to be discussed like ‘visa curbs’ of the U.S. 
  2. And India’s ‘high tariffs’ on manufactured products and ‘restrictions’ on e-commerce
  3. Also, both the countries will try to expedite the conclusion of negotiations on a bilateral social security pact (or totalisation agreement)

Concerns of India and the US

  1. The TPF is also likely to take up the ‘challenges’ that American innovative industries face due to India’s ‘weak’ Intellectual Property Rights regime
  2. It would also discuss the ‘non-tariff barriers’ of the U.S. that are adversely impacting India’s agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial exports

Why is USIBC and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) important?

  1. Industry bodies including USIBC and USISPF are working with the governments of both the countries on mechanisms to ensure greater engagement at the State-level, instead of focusing entirely on the Central/Federal-level discussions
Oct, 05, 2017

US resumes premium processing of all H1B visa categories

Note4students:

Mains Paper 2| Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: H1B visa basics

Mains level: Indo-US Relations


News

Context

The article tells us that the premium processing of the H1B visas for the US has resumed.

 What is H1B Visa-

  1. It is a visa which allows US employers to employ foreign workers in specialised areas of work that require theoretical and technical expertise.
  2. As mandated by the US Congress (part of Parliament of the US) every year USCIS (United States Citizen & Immigration Service) can issue a maximum of 65,000 H1B visas and 20,000 to those who have earned higher education in STEM subjects (Science, Tech, Engg. and Maths) from a US higher educational institution.
  3. H1B visas for academic and research institutes are exempted from the Congressional mandated limit.

 

Main issue-

  1. The premium processing or expedited processing (processed within 15 days) of H1B visas was suspended in April to handle huge rush in applications.
  2. The Trump administration believes that the H1B visas have been misused by companies to replace American workers.

 

 

 

Oct, 03, 2017

India gets first-ever U.S. crude shipment

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Import of crude oil from the Us is important because of the risks arising out of geo-political disruptions.(for example, happened in case of Iran)


News

U.S. crude oil 

  1. India has received the first ever shipment of U.S. crude oil of 1.6 million barrels, purchased by state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)

Particulars of the deals

  1. The shipment is a part of recent commitments to purchase U.S. oil by IOC, Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL)
  2. IOC has placed a cumulative order for 3.9 million barrels from the U.S.
  3. While BPCL and Hindustan Petroleum have placed orders for about 2.95 million barrels and one million barrels, respectively

Why is this important?

  1. The inclusion of the U.S. as a source for crude oil imports by India’s largest refiner will go a long way in mitigating the risks arising out of geo-political disruptions
  2. According to a. U.S. Embassy, U.S. crude oil shipments to India have the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to $2 billion
Sep, 29, 2017

[op-ed snap] Expanding the common ground

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Role of India in Afghanistan and rising strategic relationship between the two coutries.


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the rising Indo-US strategic relationship in the Indian Sub-continent

Wider role of India in Afghanistan

  1. India has decided to take up 116 “high-impact community developmental projects” in 31 provinces of Afghanistan
  2. India and Afghanistan have also agreed to “strengthen security cooperation”
  3. India has agreed “to extend further assistance for the Afghan national defence and security forces in fighting (1) the scourge of terrorism, (2) organised crime, (3) trafficking of narcotics and (4) money laundering”
  4. India will train Afghan police officers along with Afghan soldiers
  5. This is aimed at sending out a message to Pakistan, which continues to assert that India has “zero political and military role” in Afghanistan

Increased military role of India in Afghanistan

  1. India has given four attack helicopters to Afghanistan as part of its assistance package
  2. India is keen to expand the scope of its security cooperation with Afghanistan
  3. It had remained limited in the past not only due to geographical constraints, but also due to USA’s desire to limit India’s security engagement in the country

Stronger ties of India with U.S.

  1. The recent visit of Gen. Mattis shows the importance of defence ties in shaping the trajectory of Indo-U.S. relations
  2. The USA is no longer reluctant about selling sensitive military technologies to India
  3. The U.S. is looking forward to share some of their most advanced defence technologies with India
  4. For example, he sale of 22 Sea Guardian Unmanned Aerial Systems is high on the agenda
  5. With this deal, the Indian Navy will not only acquire the world’s most advanced maritime reconnaissance drone, it will also lead to greater defence technology sharing

Changing role of India in International affairs

  1. As India and the U.S. expand military cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, new alignments are emerging
  2. In the past, India had been reluctant to play an active role in East and Southeast Asia
  3. Now as part of its ‘Act East’ policy, India’s engagement with the region has become more robust
  4. And the USA has been encouraging India to shape the regional strategic realities more potently
Sep, 26, 2017

India, US to explore trilateral navy exercise expansion

Image result for malabar exercise 2017

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Trilateral Malabar naval exercise

Mains level: Not much


News

  1. India and the US will explore the possibility of expanding the annual trilateral Malabar naval exercise
  2. The matter will be discussed when US Defence Secretary James Mattis meets Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday.
  3. The new US administration is keen to induct new members as part of the exercise
  4.  Two sides will discuss the possibility of inducting new members in the exercise, and Australia and Singapore are likely contenders.

Malabar naval exercises

  1. The Malabar naval exercises have evolved from a Indo-US naval exercise into a strong display of geopolitical force joining the Indo-Pacific’s three most powerful democracies.
  2. After Japan joined as a permanent participant in 2015, the exercise has received attention — in the face of an assertive Chinese military deployment in Indo-Pacific region.
  3. Earlier this year, Australian defence minister reaffirmed that Canberra was “very interested” in a quadrilateral engagement with India, the US and Japan.
  4. Despite Canberra’s keenness, India has declined Australia’s request to join Malabar 2017.
Sep, 21, 2017

US Senate passes $700 Billion defense spending Bill

Note4Students:

Mains Paper 2: India and its neighborhood relations

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Not much

Mains level: This article talks about the new bill related National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2018 which gives impetus to Indo-US strategic ties and also adopts tough stand against Pakistan, when it comes to the fight against terrorism.


News

Context

  • The US Senate has overwhelmingly approved the nearly $700 billion defence spending bill for 2018 which seeks to develop a strategy for Indo-US defence cooperation and adopts a tough approach on Pakistan’s action against terror outfits like the Haqqani network and the LeT.
  • As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2018, the legislation also approved several India-centric amendments aimed at increasing the defence relationship between the two countries and thus enhancing the strategic paertnership between the two countries.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                India centric amendments are-
  • An amendment that calls on the Department of Defense to reassess its approach to partnering with India and to appoint an individual to oversee this process.
  • Another amendment which asks the Pentagon to develop a strategy of defence cooperation between the US and India.

Provisions relating to Pakistan

  1. The bill approves $700 million in coalition support fund to Pakistan as a reimbursement to the services rendered by Islamabad towards America’s fight against terrorism.
  2. However, $350 million of this amount cannot be released unless the Defense Secretary certifies to the Congress that Pakistan has taken satisfactory steps against terrorist organizations like the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
  3. Pakistan is required not provide military, financial or logistical support to specially designated global terrorists operating in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
  4. Along with this Pakistan must show that is not using its military or any funds or equipment provided by the US to persecute minority groups seeking political or religious freedom, including the Balochi, Sindhi and Hazara ethnic groups and minority religious groups, including Christian, Hindu and Ahmadiyya Muslims, it said.

 

 

 

Sep, 01, 2017

India, U.S. eye states to boost trade ties

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the USIBC

Mains level: Both the US and India can increase their bilateral trade. It will be beneficial for both the countries, in rapidly changing strategic relationships in the world.


News

Efforts to increase bilateral trade and investment ties

  1. India and the U.S. are working on establishing a state-level engagement mechanism to widen and deepen bilateral trade and investment ties
  2. The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), will unveil a ‘State Engagement Task force’ (SET)
  3. Why: to ensure American and Indian companies align their interests with the priorities of the State governments of both the countries

Priorities of the Bilateral Trade and Investment

  1.  Priority sectors will be defence and energy
  2.  While the focus in defence would include Lockheed Martin’s proposal to make F-16 fighter jets in India
  3. The proposed sale of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. or GA-ASI’s ‘Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft’ to India
  4. Energy ties would cover exports of U.S. natural gas, transfer of U.S. technology on oil and gas refining
  5. Also, the conclusion of pacts between Nuclear Power Corp. and Westinghouse Electric for six nuclear reactors in India and related project financing
  6. Other priority areas would be
    (1) smart cities (including Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam)
    (2) regional airport development in India through public private partnership
    (3) e-commerce?
    (4) digital payments
    (5) medical devices

Current status of India, as a state(of US) trade partner

  1. According to the American Enterprise Institute, China was the ‘top import country’ for 23 U.S. States in 2016, followed by Canada (14)
  2. India was neither a ‘top import country’ nor a ‘top export country’ for any U.S. State

What about other issues?

  1. Issues like the U.S. concern over its trade deficit and India’s worries on U.S. visa ‘curbs’ would be solved after the more important issue related to bilateral trade
  2. Once the two countries explore ways to solve the ‘larger issue’ of increasing bilateral goods and services trade to $500 billion, from $115 billion in 2016, both countries will talk about the other issues
Aug, 22, 2017

India to raise visa issue in trade policy meet

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: TFP

Mains level: Article shows trade policy concerns between India and the US


News

Concerns from Indian Side

  1. The Centre will raise Indian industry’s concerns over the U.S. visa ‘curbs’, during the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting likely in October
  2. TFP is the premier forum to resolve bilateral trade and investment issues between India and the US

Possible topics of discussion during TFP

  1. From the US side: the U.S. is expected raise its worries over India’s ‘restrictions’ on e-commerce
  2. And the ‘challenges’ faced by American innovative industries due to India’s ‘weak’ Intellectual Property Rights regime
  3. From Indian Side: Indian government is likely to raise the issue of the ‘non-tariff barriers’ by the U.S. that are hurting Indian agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial exports
Jul, 31, 2017

Indian government cuts down on US lobbying to lowest in 7 years

Image result for lobbying

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governnance | Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

 Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Lobbying


News

  • The Indian government has slashed its expenses towards lobbying in the US with a total payment of USD 120,000 to its registered lobbyist firm in the second quarter of 2017 — the first cut in nearly seven years.
  • The disclosure has been made by BGR Government Affairs, which lobbied on behalf of Republic of India on issues relating to “bilateral US-India relations.

Back2basics

Lobbying

  1. Lobbying is a communication process used by members of a pressure group for persuasion.
  2. Lobbying is used to influence governmental policy process.
  3. It also acts as an instrument that links citizens and decision-makers.
  4. Lobbying takes place when a few members of pressure groups loiter in the corridors of power with a view to securing an opportunity to interact with legislators and to influence the decisions of the policy makers.

Pros

  1. They use a democratic process.
  2. Check the power of majorities.
  3. They have the ability to motivate legislators.
  4. Allow for better representation of interests.
  5. Provide positive solutions.
  6. They serve as an avenue for political involvement.
  7. Ensure an outspread dispersal of expenses

Cons

  1. They would often seek for the minority of people.
  2. They only have one track in mind.
  3. They are only effective for themselves.
  4. They would commit serious crimes
  5. They lead to “hyperpluralism.”
Dec, 01, 2016

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.

Oct, 19, 2016

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
Oct, 19, 2016

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
Oct, 19, 2016

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
Sep, 13, 2016

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
Sep, 13, 2016

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
Aug, 31, 2016

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
Aug, 29, 2016

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)
Aug, 24, 2016

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
Jul, 28, 2016

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)
Jul, 09, 2016

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
Jun, 28, 2016

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
Jun, 27, 2016

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
Jun, 09, 2016

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
Jun, 08, 2016

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
Jun, 08, 2016

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
Jun, 08, 2016

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
Jun, 07, 2016

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
Jun, 03, 2016

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
May, 28, 2016

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
May, 28, 2016

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
May, 24, 2016

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
May, 24, 2016

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
May, 04, 2016

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
Apr, 29, 2016

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
Apr, 17, 2016

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
Apr, 15, 2016

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
Apr, 13, 2016

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
Apr, 12, 2016

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
Apr, 09, 2016

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
Apr, 02, 2016

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
Mar, 29, 2016

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
Mar, 09, 2016

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
Mar, 04, 2016

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
Mar, 03, 2016

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
Feb, 17, 2016

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
Feb, 13, 2016

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
Feb, 08, 2016

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.
Jan, 15, 2016

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.
Dec, 26, 2015

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).
Dec, 12, 2015

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.
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