Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: INCB, Its composition, key functions

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

Mrs. Jagjit Pavadia (IRS) India’s nominee has been re-elected for a third term to the INCB for the period of 2025-2030.

About International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

Description
Establishment Established in 1968 by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961.
Headquarters Based in Vienna, Austria, with a Secretariat supporting its activities.
Membership Consists of 13 members elected by ECOSOC, experts in drug control and related fields.
Role and Mandate Independent body monitoring compliance with UN drug control conventions.
Functions Assess global drug situation, evaluate licit drug production, and publish annual reports.
Collaboration Works with governments and international organizations on drug control issues.
Control Measures Monitors and evaluates national drug control measures for treaty compliance.
Advocacy and Awareness Promotes adherence to drug treaties and raises awareness on global drug issues.
Cooperation Collaborates with UN agencies like WHO and UNODC to address drug-related challenges.

 

India’s Election to Key UN Bodies

India’s proactive engagement at the United Nations resulted in its election to several pivotal bodies:

1.    Commission on the Status of Women (2025-2029)

2.    Executive Board of UNICEF (2025-2027)

3.    Executive Board of UNDP and UNFPA (2025-2027)

4.    UN Office for Project Services (2025-2027)

5.    Executive Board of UN Women (2025-2027)

6.    Executive Board of the World Food Programme (2025-2027)

 

PYQ:

[2019] Consider the following statements:

1. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) has a ‘Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air’.

2. The UNCAC is the ever-first legally binding global anti-corruption instrument.

3. A highlight of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is the inclusion of a specific chapter aimed at returning assets to their rightful owners from whom they had been taken illicitly.

4. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is mandated by its member States to assist in the implementation of both UNCAC and UNTOC.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, and 4

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

[pib] IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Clean Economy Investor Forum is set to be held in Singapore.

About IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum

  • The IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum brings together the region’s top investors, philanthropies, financial institutions, innovative companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs.
  • The Forum aims to mobilize investments into sustainable infrastructure, climate technology and renewable energy projects.
  • It is managed by Invest India (www.investindia.gov.in), India’s National Investment Promotion Agency.
  • The Department of Commerce is the nodal agency for the IPEF engagements.

The Forum will have opportunity for the Indian industry in the two following tracks:

  1. Climate Tech Track: Under this track, IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum is holding an open call that aims to recognise the top climate tech companies and start-ups among the member countries and present them to global investors.
  2. Infrastructure Track: Under this track, India will showcase selected investible sustainable infrastructure projects at the 2024 Forum. The sectors of focus are-energy transition (e.g electric gird; renewable energy, including solar, and onshore wind; sustainable aviation fuel; battery storage; hydrogen; green data centers), transport and logistics (e.g. Electric Vehicle, EV charging points), waste management/waste to energy.

About Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)

  • It is a US-led initiative that aims to strengthen economic partnerships among participating countries to enhance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The IPEF was launched in 2021 with 12 initial partners who together represent 40% of the world GDP.
  • The IPEF is NOT a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) but allows members to negotiate the parts they want to.

 Four main “Pillars” of IPEF:

 

Trade that will include digital economy and emerging technology, labor commitments, the environment, trade facilitation, transparency and good regulatory practices, and corporate accountability, standards on cross-border data flow and data localisations;

Supply chain resilience to develop “a first-of-its-kind supply chain agreement” that would anticipate and prevent disruptions;

Clean energy and decarbonization that will include agreements on “high-ambition commitments” such as renewable energy targets, carbon removal purchasing commitments, energy efficiency standards, and new measures to combat methane emissions; and

Fair Economy Agreement, with commitments to enact and enforce “effective tax, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery schemes in line with [American] values”.

 Members Countries include:

  • Currently, India and 13 countries other located in the Pacific Ocean are its members: Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

How is IPEF different from other trade deals?

  • No market access or tariff reductions have been outlined in the IPEF, although experts say it can pave the way to trade deals.
  • It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it arrangement, like most multilateral trade deals are.
  • Since the IPEF is not a regular trade pact, the members so far are not obligated by all four pillars despite being signatories.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

[pib] Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)

Mains level: NA

Why in the news-

What is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)?

  • It is a US-led initiative that aims to strengthen economic partnerships among participating countries to enhance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The IPEF was launched in 2021 with 12 initial partners who together represent 40% of the world GDP.
  • The IPEF is NOT a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) but allows members to negotiate the parts they want to.

 

Four main “Pillars” of IPEF

 

  1. Trade that will include digital economy and emerging technology, labor commitments, the environment, trade facilitation, transparency and good regulatory practices, and corporate accountability, standards on cross-border data flow and data localisations;
  2. Supply chain resilience to develop “a first-of-its-kind supply chain agreement” that would anticipate and prevent disruptions;
  3. Clean energy and decarbonization that will include agreements on “high-ambition commitments” such as renewable energy targets, carbon removal purchasing commitments, energy efficiency standards, and new measures to combat methane emissions; and
  4. Fair Economy Agreement, with commitments to enact and enforce “effective tax, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery schemes in line with [American] values”.

 

Members Countries include:

  • Currently, India and 13 countries other located in the Pacific Ocean are its members: Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

How is IPEF different from other trade deals?

  • No market access or tariff reductions have been outlined in the IPEF, although experts say it can pave the way to trade deals.
  • It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it arrangement, like most multilateral trade deals are.
  • Since the IPEF is not a regular trade pact, the members so far are not obligated by all four pillars despite being signatories.

Practice MCQ:

Regarding the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), consider the following statements:

  1. It is a US-led initiative launched in 2021.
  2. It is basically a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  3. India is not a member of IPEF.

How many of the given statements is/are correct?

(a)   One

(b)   Two

(c)   Three

(d)    None

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Exercise ‘Vajra Prahar 2023’ Commences in Meghalaya

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Exercise Vajra Prahar

Mains level: NA

Central Idea

  • Recently, the 14th edition of the Vajra Prahar 2023 exercise, a joint venture between India and the USA Special Forces, concluded in Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh. Here are the key highlights:

Exercise Vajra Prahar

  • Vajra Prahar is an annual exercise alternately hosted by the Special Forces of India and the United States.
  • These Special Forces units are dedicated to covert operations, counterterrorism, and other specialized military tasks.
  • It is crucial for addressing the security challenges both nations face in the current global context.
  • It has reinforced the friendship and defence cooperation between the Special Forces of India and the USA.

Objectives

  • The 21-day joint exercise aimed to enhance skills in Airborne Operations, Special Operations, and Counter Terrorism under the United Nations Charter.
  • It was divided into two stages:
    1. The initial stage focused on combat conditioning and tactical special mission training.
    2. The second stage involved a 48-hour validation exercise to assess the training received in the first phase.

Other Joint Exercises between India and the USA

  • Yudh Abhyas: Annual army exercise focusing on enhancing military cooperation and understanding.
  • Malabar Exercise: Naval exercise, also including Japan and Australia, focusing on complex maritime operations.
  • Cope India: Air force exercise aimed at improving interoperability and mutual understanding between air forces.
  • Tiger Triumph: Tri-service amphibious exercise focusing on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • Red Flag: Advanced aerial combat training exercise involving the U.S. Air Force and international participants, including India.
  • Spartan Shield: Army exercise aimed at building operational capacity in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

India’s 2+2 Ministerial Dialogues: Partnerships and Objectives

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: 2+2 Dialogues Format

Mains level: Read the attached story

2+2

Central Idea

  • Indian Defence Minister and External Affairs Minister recently hosted their US counterparts for the fifth annual 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi.

Understanding 2+2 Dialogues

  • Purpose: 2+2 dialogues involve the participation of high-level representatives, typically the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, from two nations. This format aims to expand the scope of dialogue and collaboration between these countries.
  • Rationale: Such dialogues enable comprehensive discussions on strategic concerns, mutual sensitivities, and political factors. They facilitate a deeper understanding of each other’s geopolitical perspectives and contribute to the development of stronger, more integrated strategic relationships in an ever-changing global environment.

India’s 2+2 Partners

  • United States: The United States is India’s foremost and oldest partner in the 2+2 format. The inaugural 2+2 dialogue took place in September 2018 during the Trump Administration.
  • Australia: India engages in 2+2 meetings with Australia, further enhancing bilateral security and defence cooperation.
  • Japan: The 2+2 talks with Japan commenced in 2019, with the objective of bolstering strategic depth in security and defence cooperation.
  • United Kingdom: In October 2023, India initiated its first 2+2 dialogue with the United Kingdom, signifying the growing importance of this partnership.
  • Russia: India and Russia also engage in 2+2 dialogues, fostering a mutually beneficial understanding on various regional and international issues.

Significance of 2+2 Dialogues

  • Defence and Strategic Agreements: These dialogues have led to significant bilateral agreements and partnerships. India and the United States, for instance, have signed Troika Pacts like:
  1. Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)
  2. Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
  3. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for deep military cooperation.
  • Addressing Regional Concerns: In the face of common regional concerns, such as China’s increasing assertiveness, 2+2 dialogues have become vital mechanisms for India and its partners to align their strategic interests. This includes cooperation within the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) forum with Japan, Australia, and the United States.
  • Expanding Traditional Alliances: India also values its 2+2 dialogues with Russia, acknowledging shared worldviews and goals in promoting a multipolar world order.

Conclusion

  • India’s participation in 2+2 Ministerial Dialogues with key global partners underscores its commitment to fostering robust and multifaceted strategic relationships.
  • These dialogues are pivotal in addressing regional and global challenges, strengthening military cooperation, and promoting shared interests in a dynamic world order.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

The Changing Dynamics of India-US Relations: Opportunities and Challenges

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Latest developments in India-US relations, ICET, I2U2 etc

Mains level: India-U.S. strengthening bilateral relationship, challenges and way forward

US

Central Idea

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing state visit to the US marks his third invitation to Washington DC since assuming office. This visit comes at a critical juncture when the global order is rapidly evolving, demanding that India maintains its strategic independence and geopolitical balance. The US has made significant efforts to woo India in recent weeks, indicating a desire to forge a strong partnership against China.

Changing Global Landscape

  • Rise of China: China has emerged as a dominant global player economically, technologically, and militarily. Its rapid growth has challenged the traditional dominance of the United States and other Western powers, leading to a reconfiguration of power dynamics.
  • Shifting Alliances: Traditional alliances and partnerships have been reshaped, with countries seeking new alignments to adapt to the changing global order. For example, Russia and China have strengthened their strategic partnership, while the United States has sought to build closer ties with countries like India and strengthen existing alliances like the NATO.
  • Multilateralism under Strain: Multilateral institutions and frameworks have faced challenges as countries assert their own interests and pursue alternative approaches. The US has shown skepticism towards certain multilateral agreements, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal, leading to a reevaluation of global governance structures.
  • Regional Power Rivalries: Power rivalries have intensified in various regions, such as the Middle East, the South China Sea, and Eastern Europe. Competing interests and territorial disputes have created geopolitical tensions and triggered conflicts in these regions.
  • Technological Advancements: Technological advancements, particularly in areas like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and space exploration, have transformed the global landscape. Countries are vying for technological leadership and developing strategies to harness emerging technologies for economic and strategic advantages.
  • Global Challenges: Shared global challenges, such as climate change, pandemics, terrorism, and migration, have necessitated greater international cooperation. These challenges have highlighted the interconnectedness of nations and the need for collective action to address them effectively.

Significance of the PM Narendra Modi’s Visit to US

  • Strengthening Bilateral Relations: The visit provides an opportunity to strengthen the bilateral relations between India and the United States. As both countries have identified each other as important partners, the visit serves as a platform to deepen cooperation, enhance mutual understanding, and address shared challenges.
  • High-Level Engagement: The visit involves high-level engagement between the leaders of both countries. Meeting with President Joe Biden allows Prime Minister Modi to establish personal rapport, exchange views on key issues, and set the direction for the future of India-US relations.
  • Geopolitical Dynamics: The visit takes place against the backdrop of a rapidly transforming world order. Both India and the United States are navigating a complex geopolitical landscape characterized by shifting alliances, rising powers, and regional tensions. The visit allows the leaders to assess the evolving global dynamics and align their strategies accordingly.
  • Countering China’s Influence: The US has been actively wooing India as a partner to counterbalance China’s growing influence. The visit provides an opportunity for India to evaluate the benefits and risks of aligning with the US in countering China’s assertiveness, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Economic Cooperation: Economic cooperation is a crucial aspect of India-US relations. The visit can facilitate discussions on trade, investment, and technology collaborations, which can boost economic growth and create opportunities for businesses and industries in both countries.
  • Collaboration on Global Challenges: The visit allows for collaboration and coordination between India and the US on global challenges such as climate change, terrorism, and pandemics. By working together, the two countries can contribute to finding solutions and promoting global stability and security.
  • Engagement with the Indian Diaspora: The Indian diaspora in the United States is a significant factor in India-US relations. The visit provides an opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to engage with the Indian diaspora, acknowledge their contributions, and strengthen their ties with India.

Domestic Challenges in the US

  • Political Polarization: The country is deeply divided along political lines, with increasing polarization between the two major political parties. This polarization hampers effective governance, impedes policy-making, and creates social tensions.
  • Economic Inequality: Income and wealth inequality have been on the rise in the US, with a significant wealth gap between the rich and the poor. This inequality contributes to social unrest, limits economic mobility, and strains social cohesion.
  • Healthcare Crisis: The US healthcare system faces challenges in terms of access, affordability, and quality of care. Many Americans struggle with high healthcare costs, limited coverage, and inadequate healthcare infrastructure, leading to disparities in healthcare outcomes.
  • Gun Violence: The US grapples with high levels of gun violence, including mass shootings and urban violence. This issue has sparked debates on gun control measures and the balance between individual rights and public safety.
  • Opioid Epidemic: The country is dealing with an ongoing opioid epidemic, with a significant rise in opioid addiction, overdoses, and related deaths. Addressing this crisis requires a comprehensive approach encompassing healthcare, law enforcement, and social support systems.
  • Racial Inequality and Social Justice: The US continues to confront issues of systemic racism, social injustice, and disparities in various aspects of life, including education, criminal justice, and economic opportunities. These challenges have sparked nationwide protests and calls for reform.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Substance abuse and mental health issues are pervasive challenges in the US, with significant social and economic impacts. Access to effective treatment and support systems for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health disorders remains a concern.

Significance of the Indian Diaspora

  • Economic Contributions: The Indian diaspora plays a crucial role in the economic development of both their host countries and India. They are actively engaged in diverse sectors such as technology, finance, healthcare, and entrepreneurship, creating jobs, generating wealth, and fostering innovation. Remittances from the diaspora contribute significantly to India’s foreign exchange reserves and promote economic growth.
  • Cultural Diplomacy: The Indian diaspora serves as a cultural bridge, promoting Indian culture, traditions, and values in their host countries. Through various cultural events, festivals, and community organizations, they strengthen people-to-people ties, enhance cross-cultural understanding, and promote India’s soft power globally.
  • Academic and Intellectual Contributions: The Indian diaspora has made significant contributions to academia, research, and intellectual pursuits in their respective fields. Many Indian-origin individuals have achieved remarkable success in educational institutions, research organizations, and think tanks, enhancing India’s intellectual capital and fostering knowledge exchange between countries.
  • Political Influence: The Indian diaspora has gained political prominence in many countries, particularly in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Indian-origin politicians hold positions at various levels of government, contributing to policy-making, advocacy for Indian interests, and strengthening bilateral relations between India and their host countries.
  • Strengthening Bilateral Relations: The Indian diaspora acts as a bridge between India and their host countries, fostering closer ties and enhancing bilateral relations. Their personal connections, cultural understanding, and business networks facilitate trade, investment, and collaborations in various sectors, contributing to the growth of bilateral relations.
  • Electoral Influence: The Indian diaspora, particularly in countries with significant populations, has the potential to influence electoral outcomes. They can mobilize support for candidates who are sympathetic to Indian interests and issues, thereby impacting political landscapes and policy priorities.

US

Why America needs India?

  • Strategic Partnership: India’s strategic location in the Indo-Pacific region makes it a crucial partner for the United States in maintaining regional stability and countering the influence of China. India’s growing military capabilities, democratic values, and shared interests align with American strategic objectives.
  • Economic Opportunities: India’s rapidly growing economy and large consumer market present significant economic opportunities for American businesses. Collaborations in trade, investment, and technology can benefit both countries and contribute to economic growth, job creation, and market access.
  • Security Cooperation: India’s cooperation in security matters, including counterterrorism efforts, enhances global security and strengthens the United States’ fight against transnational threats. Intelligence sharing, defense collaboration, and joint military exercises foster mutual security interests.
  • Shared Democratic Values: India, as the world’s largest democracy, shares core democratic values with the United States. Collaboration with India strengthens the community of democratic nations and reinforces democratic norms globally.
  • Regional Stability: India’s engagement in the South Asian region contributes to regional stability, economic development, and cooperation. Partnering with India supports the United States’ efforts to promote a rules-based order, peace, and security in the Indo-Pacific region

Potential Challenges in India-US Relations

  • Trade and Economic Issues: Despite efforts to enhance economic cooperation, trade disputes and market access barriers can strain India-US relations. Differences in intellectual property rights, tariffs, and regulatory frameworks can hinder trade relations and create tensions between the two countries.
  • Geopolitical Considerations: India’s strategic autonomy and its relationships with other countries, such as Russia and Iran, could potentially create divergences with US interests. Balancing between various regional powers and managing conflicting geopolitical dynamics can present challenges in aligning strategies and priorities.
  • Differences in Foreign Policy Approaches: India and the US have different approaches to certain foreign policy issues. For example, India has historically pursued a policy of non-alignment, while the US emphasizes alliances and partnerships. Differing perspectives on specific regional issues, such as Afghanistan or the Middle East, could lead to divergent policy choices.
  • Climate Change and Environmental Priorities: While both countries acknowledge the importance of addressing climate change, differing priorities and strategies may impact cooperation in this area. The US’s focus on global climate initiatives and commitments may differ from India’s emphasis on developmental priorities and the need for technology transfers.
  • Visa and Immigration Policies: Changes in visa and immigration policies, such as restrictions on H-1B visas, can impact the movement of professionals and students between India and the US. This can affect people-to-people ties, educational collaborations, and business partnerships, thereby straining the bilateral relationship.
  • Domestic Political Factors: Domestic political considerations in both countries can influence the direction of India-US relations. Changes in leadership, shifts in domestic priorities, and partisan politics can shape policy choices and impact the overall relationship.
  • Perception Gaps and Cultural Differences: Differences in perception, cultural norms, and understanding of each other’s societies can create challenges in communication and building mutual trust. Bridging these gaps requires sustained efforts to enhance people-to-people ties, cultural exchange, and educational collaborations.

Way Forward

  • Enhanced Economic Cooperation: Both countries can prioritize efforts to deepen economic ties, promote trade and investment, and address trade barriers. Exploring new sectors of collaboration, fostering innovation partnerships, and promoting business-to-business interactions can further enhance economic cooperation.
  • Strategic and Security Cooperation: Strengthening strategic and security cooperation is crucial in addressing shared challenges such as counterterrorism, maritime security, and regional stability. Regular dialogues, joint military exercises, intelligence sharing, and defense technology collaborations can bolster defense and security ties.
  • Climate Change and Clean Energy Cooperation: Given the urgency of addressing climate change, India and the US can collaborate on clean energy technologies, renewable energy adoption, and climate resilience efforts. Sharing best practices, facilitating technology transfers, and promoting joint research initiatives can contribute to global climate goals.
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Partnerships: India and the US can leverage their strengths in science, technology, and innovation to foster collaborations in areas such as healthcare, space exploration, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing. Joint research projects, technology transfer agreements, and innovation hubs can fuel innovation and economic growth in both countries.
  • Collaboration in Global Governance: India and the US can work together to promote multilateralism, reform international institutions, and address global challenges. Coordination in international forums such as the United Nations, G20, and regional organizations can amplify their collective voice and influence.

US

Conclusion

  • Prime Minister Modi’s state visit to the US presents an opportunity to navigate the evolving dynamics of India-US relations. Amidst a changing global order, India must offer the US avenues beyond geopolitical balance, particularly in healthcare, digitalization, multilateral engagement, and collaboration in the Global South. By leveraging India’s expertise and fostering collaboration, both nations can strengthen their partnership and address mutual challenges while capitalizing on emerging opportunities

Also read:

Strengthening U.S.-India Defence Partnership: A Path Towards Greater Cooperation

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

What is the Samosa Caucus?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Samosa Caucus

Mains level: Not Much

samosa

Central Idea

  • Defining the Term: In a recent address to the United States Congress, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spotlighted the “Samosa Caucus,” a casual descriptor for the group of U.S. politicians of Indian origin.
  • Indian Roots in America: This reference was of immense significance to the millions of U.S. residents with Indian heritage, including some members of the Congressional chamber itself.

Etymology and Symbolism: “Samosa Caucus”

  • Origin of the Term: The phrase “Samosa Caucus” has its roots in 2018, reportedly coined by Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois.
  • Strong Cultural Identity: Its usage resonates with the idea of a strong identification with Indian culture, symbolized by the samosa, a quintessential Indian snack. This cultural symbol extends into the digital realm, with “Samosapedia” serving as a repository of Indian slang.

Symbol of Achievement: Vice President Kamala Harris

  • Recognizing a Milestone: The Prime Minister specifically mentioned Vice President Kamala Harris, epitomizing the accomplishments of the Indian American community.
  • Hope for a Growing Influence: He voiced his hopes for the expansion of the “Samosa Caucus” and its potential role in symbolically bringing the rich diversity of Indian cuisine into the House, indicating a larger acceptance and appreciation of Indian culture.

Total Indian American Representatives in Congress

  • Count of Indian Origin Representatives: Currently, there are five U.S. Representatives of Indian descent, with a notable sixth, Vice President Harris, heading the Senate. All these politicians are members of the Democratic Party.
  • Names and Constituencies: These representatives are Shamal Thanedar from Michigan, Dr. Ami Bera and Ro Khanna from California, Pramila Jayapal from Washington, and Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois.

Influence beyond Congress: Indian Americans in the U.S. Administration

  • Broad-Based Representation: Indian Americans occupy various crucial roles within the Biden Administration, signifying their influence in American policymaking.
  • Assertive Community Voice: This considerable representation emphasizes the strong voice of the Indian American community in shaping America’s future.

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

NATO+5 Status and India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NATO+5

Mains level: Read the attached story

nato

Central Idea

  • As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Washington, the US Senate is set to introduce legislation that aims to grant India ‘NATO plus five’ defence status.
  • However, India’s External Affairs Minister has already rejected this framework for India.

What is NATO Plus?

  • NATO Plus is a coalition consisting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and five countries, namely Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea.
  • The primary objective of this group is to enhance global defense cooperation.
  • Membership in NATO Plus would offer several advantages to India, including seamless intelligence sharing among member countries, access to cutting-edge military technology without delays, and a strengthened defense partnership with the United States.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

  • NATO is an alliance composed of 31 North American and European countries with shared values and interests.
  • The organization was established through the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty, on April 4, 1949.
  • The main purpose of NATO is to safeguard peace and ensure the territorial integrity, political independence, and security of its member states.
  • Article Five of the treaty stipulates that an armed attack against one member shall be considered an attack against all members, and the alliance will provide assistance, including the use of armed forces if necessary.
  • NATO’s headquarters is located in Brussels, Belgium.

Why is the US keen to introduce India to NATO?

The US is keen to introduce India to NATO for these reasons:

  • Counterbalancing China: India’s inclusion in NATO would help counterbalance China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Strengthening defense ties: It would deepen defense cooperation between the US and India.
  • Enhancing regional stability: India’s participation would contribute to regional stability and improve defense capabilities.
  • Expanding NATO’s reach: Including India would expand NATO’s global presence and address security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Promoting a rules-based order: It aligns with shared values of democracy, human rights, and freedom of navigation.

Benefits if India’s ever joins

Joining NATO + 5 would offer several advantages to India, including:

  • Enhanced security cooperation: India would benefit from increased security cooperation and intelligence sharing with NATO and its five partner countries, namely Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea.
  • Access to advanced military technology: India would gain access to the latest military technologies and equipment through streamlined transfer processes, allowing for quicker modernization of its defense forces.
  • Strengthened defense partnership: Becoming a member of NATO + 5 would further strengthen India’s defense partnership with the United States and other NATO allies, leading to closer collaboration on various defense initiatives.
  • Improved regional security: India’s participation in NATO + 5 would contribute to regional security, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, by fostering cooperation among like-minded countries to address common security challenges.
  • Enhanced deterrence against adversaries: Being part of this defense framework would enhance India’s deterrence capabilities against potential adversaries, particularly in light of increasing security threats in the region.

Details of the Bill

  • The proposed legislation seeks to upgrade India-U.S. defence ties by adding India to this arrangement, enabling the transfer of defence equipment with minimal bureaucratic interference.
  • The move comes following a recommendation from a U.S. House of Representatives committee on China, suggesting India’s inclusion in the club.

India’s Response

  • India’s External Affairs Minister stated that the proposed template does not apply to India, appreciating the sentiment but clarifying that it was not suitable for the country.
  • The distinction between India and the proposed framework is well understood by the Biden administration.

Reasons for India’s Denial

India is unlikely to join ‘NATO-Plus’ for the following reasons:

  • Non-aligned policy: India has traditionally pursued a non-aligned foreign policy, which prioritizes strategic autonomy and avoids formal military alliances.
  • Regional partnerships: India prefers forging strategic partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region based on shared interests, rather than joining broad-based military alliances.
  • Unique security challenges: India faces specific security challenges in its region and tailors its defense priorities accordingly, making a broad military alliance less suitable for its needs.
  • Diverse foreign policy objectives: India pursues a multi-faceted foreign policy approach, focusing on a range of objectives beyond security alliances, such as economic cooperation and climate change.
  • Avoiding provoking China: India seeks to manage its relationship with China pragmatically and avoid actions that could escalate tensions, making joining a US-led military alliance potentially provocative.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Strengthening India-US Bilateral Relations: A Path to Deeper Cooperation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India-US relations

Mains level: India- US strengthening bilateral relations, new opportunities, challenges and way ahead

Central Idea

  • India and the United States have forged a robust friendship, driven by shared interests and mutual benefits. The two nations, bound by historical ties, are increasingly reliant on each other. India’s remarkable economic growth trajectory, with its GDP reaching $3 trillion in just three years, is projected to soar to $25 trillion by 2047. Meanwhile, the US is keen on accessing the Indian market and leveraging its capital and technology, both in military and non-military spheres.

India’s Evolving Landscape

  • Economic Growth: India’s economic growth has been remarkable, with the country reaching a GDP of $3 trillion in a short span of three years. It took India 63 years to achieve a $1 trillion GDP, and this accelerated growth is expected to continue. Projections suggest that India could reach a GDP of $25 trillion by 2047, marking a significant milestone 100 years after gaining independence.
  • Historical Global Significance: India has a rich historical background and has played a significant role in the global economy. In 1700, India accounted for over 35% of the world’s GDP, making it the largest economy at the time. However, due to various factors, its global share decreased to almost 1% by the economic crises in 1991. Today, India’s share stands at around 4%-5% and is steadily rising.
  • Demographic Advantage: By 2030, India is projected to have a working population of one billion people, surpassing the entire population of the G-8 countries. This demographic advantage presents immense potential for economic growth and development.
  • Technological Advancements: India has made significant strides in technology and connectivity. The country has achieved extensive internet coverage, which is nearly on par with the coverage in the G-8 nations. Additionally, India’s per capita mobile data consumption now ranks at the top globally, surpassing that of the United States and China combined.
  • Green-Friendly Initiatives: India’s infrastructure story includes a significant focus on green initiatives. The government has implemented measures such as a carbon tax on fuel, coal cess, and infrastructure development cess, which have resulted in substantial savings. The funds generated from these measures are directed towards the expansion of railways, roads, and ports, all while promoting environmentally friendly infrastructure.
  • Government Reforms and Efficiency: The Indian government has undertaken reforms aimed at improving governance, transparency, and efficiency. Initiatives such as PRAGATI, a platform for reviewing government projects, have expedited decision-making processes and encouraged officials to address long-pending issues. The implementation of the Geospatial Information Systems overlayer, GatiShakti, has further streamlined infrastructure development by preventing unnecessary road and forest cutting.
  • Financial Management and Digitalization: India has implemented the Public Financial Management System, which has enhanced transparency, accountability, and efficiency in government financial spending. By centralizing transactions and integrating databases with banks, direct payments to beneficiaries have become more efficient.

How India- US Bilateral Relations are strengthening?

  • Strategic Partnerships: India and the US have established strategic partnerships in various areas. This includes defense and security cooperation, counterterrorism efforts, intelligence sharing, and maritime security collaborations. Regular high-level dialogues and joint military exercises have further deepened these partnerships.
  • Economic Cooperation: Economic ties between India and the US have grown stronger. Bilateral trade has expanded, and efforts to promote investments and business collaborations have been undertaken. The two countries have also been engaged in discussions on trade issues to enhance economic cooperation and reduce barriers to trade and investment.
  • Defense Collaboration: Defense collaboration between India and the US has witnessed significant progress. The two countries have engaged in defense technology transfers, joint production of defense equipment, and increased military-to-military engagements. The US has also designated India as a Major Defense Partner, facilitating closer defense ties and cooperation.
  • Strategic Dialogues: Regular strategic dialogues at the highest levels have played a crucial role in strengthening bilateral relations. These dialogues cover a wide range of issues, including political, economic, defense, and security matters.
  • Technology and Innovation: India and the US have fostered collaborations in the fields of science, technology, and innovation. This includes joint research and development projects, technology transfers, and academic exchanges. Collaboration in emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, space exploration, and renewable energy has been a focus of the partnership.
  • People-to-People Exchanges: People-to-people exchanges have played a vital role in strengthening India-US relations. The two countries have encouraged educational collaborations, student exchanges, and cultural interactions. These initiatives promote mutual understanding, foster friendships, and enhance people-to-people ties.
  • Global Partnerships: India and the US have collaborated on global issues and initiatives. Both countries have worked together on climate change, sustainable development, healthcare, and counterterrorism efforts. India’s participation in forums like the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) highlights the deepening strategic coordination between the two nations.
  • Diplomatic Engagements: Diplomatic engagements between India and the US have been robust and frequent. Regular visits by top-level officials, including visits by the heads of state and government, have strengthened diplomatic ties.

Challenges for the Collaboration

  • Trade Barriers and Market Access: Both countries may face trade barriers, including tariffs, non-tariff barriers, and regulatory complexities. Addressing these barriers and working towards greater market access can foster smoother trade relations and economic collaboration.
  • Geopolitical Factors: Geopolitical dynamics and regional tensions can pose challenges to collaboration. Differing perspectives on certain international issues and conflicting geopolitical interests may need to be navigated carefully to maintain a strong bilateral relationship
  • Intellectual Property Protection: Intellectual property rights protection is crucial for fostering innovation and technology collaboration. Strengthening legal frameworks and enforcing intellectual property rights can promote a conducive environment for joint research and development initiatives.
  • Regulatory Frameworks and Harmonization: Aligning regulatory frameworks and standards between India and the US can be challenging. Collaboration requires efforts to harmonize regulations and ensure compatibility in areas such as trade, investment, healthcare, and technology.
  • Cultural and Communication Differences: Cultural differences, language barriers, and divergent communication styles can sometimes pose challenges to effective collaboration. Efforts to bridge these gaps, promote cultural understanding, and foster effective communication channels are essential for successful partnerships.
  • Political and Policy Changes: Political transitions, changes in leadership, or shifts in policy priorities can impact the trajectory of collaboration between India and the US. Building long-term and sustainable partnerships requires adaptability to changing political landscapes and consistent engagement across administrations.

Way Forward: Toward a Closer Partnership

  • Enhanced Strategic Dialogue: Regular high-level strategic dialogues between the leadership of both countries can facilitate a deeper understanding of shared interests, concerns, and priorities. These dialogues can provide a platform to discuss and address key issues, align policies, and explore new avenues for collaboration.
  • Strengthen Economic Ties: Both countries should prioritize efforts to enhance economic cooperation. This can be achieved by streamlining trade processes, reducing barriers, and promoting investments in key sectors. Bilateral trade agreements and economic partnerships can be explored to further facilitate economic integration.
  • Defense and Security Cooperation: Strengthening defense and security ties is vital for regional stability. Expanding joint military exercises, information sharing, and defense technology transfers can deepen cooperation. Collaborating on counterterrorism efforts, cybersecurity, and maritime security can also enhance mutual security interests.
  • Innovation and Technology Collaboration: Encouraging collaborations in science, technology, and innovation can drive mutual progress. Joint research initiatives, technology transfers, and partnerships between research institutions and industries can foster innovation and address common challenges such as healthcare, climate change, and sustainable development.
  • Multilateral Engagement: Strengthening collaboration in multilateral forums can amplify the voice and influence of India and the US on global issues. By coordinating positions on international matters, both countries can work together to shape global agendas, address common challenges, and promote shared values.
  • Consistency and Long-Term Vision: Maintaining consistency and a long-term vision is crucial for the growth of the partnership. Regardless of political transitions, both countries should prioritize the partnership and ensure that it remains a strategic priority across administrations.

Conclusion

  • India and the United States find themselves at a critical juncture, where a deepening partnership can unlock immense potential and drive progress in various sectors. As India continues to grow and modernize, it is essential to leverage the expertise and resources that the United States offers. By embracing a strategic alliance, the two nations can forge a path toward mutual prosperity, elevating their relationship from friendship to a robust partnership.

Also read:

Strengthening U.S.-India Defence Partnership: A Path Towards Greater Cooperation

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

What is the iCET Initiative between India-US?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: iCET

Mains level: India-US Technological Partnership

icet

Central Idea

  • India and the US have unveiled a roadmap for enhanced collaboration in critical and emerging technologies under the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET).
  • Its progress was recently reviewed during the second track 1.5 dialogue on iCET, held between NSA Ajit Doval and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan.

Understanding iCET

  • The iCET serves as a framework for India-US cooperation in critical and emerging areas of technology.
  • It was launched in January 2023 to strengthen the strategic partnership and drive technology and defence collaboration between the two countries.
  • The initiative emphasizes the shared democratic values and respect for universal human rights that should shape the development, governance, and use of technology.

Focus Areas of the Initiative

The iCET initiative focuses on several key areas to foster collaboration and deepen the partnership between India and the US. These include:

  • Research Agency Partnership: Establishing a research agency partnership to drive collaboration in areas like artificial intelligence.
  • Defence Industrial Cooperation: Developing a new defence industrial cooperation roadmap to accelerate technological cooperation for joint development and production.
  • Common Standards in AI: Developing common standards in artificial intelligence to ensure compatibility and interoperability.
  • Semiconductor Ecosystem: Supporting the development of a semiconductor ecosystem to strengthen the supply chain and enhance production capabilities.
  • Human Spaceflight Cooperation: Strengthening cooperation on human spaceflight to advance space exploration efforts.
  • Advancing 5G and 6G: Collaborating on the development and deployment of 5G and 6G technologies.
  • OpenRAN Network Technology: Promoting the adoption of OpenRAN network technology in India for a more open and secure telecommunications infrastructure.

Progress Achieved so far

India and the United States have made significant progress in various areas of collaboration under the iCET initiative. Key developments include:

  • Quantum Coordination Mechanism: Implementation of the Quantum Coordination Mechanism to facilitate cooperation in quantum technologies.
  • Public-Private Dialogue (PDD) on Telecommunication: Launch of a PDD focused on collaboration in OpenRAN, 5G, and 6G technologies.
  • AI and Space Exchanges: Important exchanges between India and the US on artificial intelligence and space cooperation.
  • Semiconductor Supply Chain: Signing of an MoU on establishing a semiconductor supply chain, paving the way for further collaboration in this critical sector.
  • Defence Cooperation: Advancements in defence cooperation, including the near-conclusion of a mega jet engine deal and the launch of the India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X).
  • Strategic Trade Dialogue: Establishment of a Strategic Trade Dialogue to address regulatory barriers and review export control norms for strategic technology and trade collaborations.

Future Outlook

  • The India-US iCET initiative holds great promise for enhancing collaboration in critical and emerging technologies.
  • By aligning their efforts in areas such as AI, quantum computing, semiconductors, and telecommunications, India and the United States aim to build trusted technology partnerships and deepen their strategic cooperation.
  • Continued progress in this initiative will pave the way for innovative solutions, economic growth, and shared advancements in critical technology domains for both countries.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Strengthening U.S.-India Defence Partnership: A Path Towards Greater Cooperation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India-U.S. relations and latest developments, ICET, I2U2 etc

Mains level: India-U.S. relationship and Growing cooperation and Indo pacific imperative

Partnership

Central Idea

  • The recent visit of United States Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, to India has bolstered the already robust relationship between the two countries. This visit, focused on technological innovation and military cooperation, marks a significant step forward in the bilateral defence partnership.

Significance of the visit

  • Strengthening Defence Partnership: The visit reinforces the already strong defence partnership between the United States and India. It demonstrates the commitment of both nations to deepen cooperation and collaboration in critical defence domains.
  • Defence Industrial Cooperation: The establishment of a road map for defence industrial cooperation is a significant outcome of the visit. It aims to enhance defence manufacturing in India through technological collaboration, aligning with India’s self-reliance mission and reducing import dependence.
  • Technology Sharing: India’s recognition as a “Major Defence Partner” of the United States, along with the signing of foundational agreements, allows for increased technology sharing between the two countries. This facilitates the exchange of sensitive technologies without India becoming a formal ally, fostering greater collaboration and advancement in defence capabilities.
  • Indo-Pacific Focus: The discussions during the visit highlight the strategic importance of the U.S.-India defence partnership in the Indo-Pacific region. Both nations share concerns over China’s assertive actions, and the visit underscores their commitment to address shared security challenges and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • Space Sector Cooperation: The launch of the Indus-X initiative and the existing Space Situational Awareness arrangement strengthen cooperation in the space sector. These initiatives enhance information-sharing, collaboration, and innovation in space-related technologies between the United States and India.
  • Economic Impact: The visit emphasizes broader industrial cooperation between Indian and U.S. companies in the defence sector. It highlights the significant investments made by American companies in India and the U.S. government’s support for India’s defence modernization.

Facts for prelims

Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ICET)

  • Launched by PM Modi and President Joe Biden: The ICET initiative was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden in May 2022.
  • Goal to elevate and expand Indo-US Partnership: Strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.
  • Directly monitored by PMO and White house: The Prime Minister’s Office in Delhi and the White House in Washington will oversee and direct the ICET.
  • Six focus areas of co-development and co-production: Strengthening innovation ecosystems, defence innovation and technology cooperation, resilient semiconductor supply chains, space, STEM talent, and next generation telecom

Partnership

Outcomes of the visit

  • Road Map for Defence Industrial Cooperation: One of the major outcomes of the visit was the establishment of a road map for defence industrial cooperation. This road map aims to boost defence manufacturing in India through greater technological collaboration between the two nations. It outlines specific measures and initiatives to expedite co-development and co-production projects, fostering stronger connections between the defence sectors of India and the United States.
  • Launch of the Indus-X Initiative: The visit witnessed the launch of the Indus-X initiative, which provides a new impetus to defence innovation engagement between the two countries. Building upon the existing bilateral Space Situational Awareness arrangement, the Indus-X initiative enhances information-sharing and cooperation in the space sector. It sets the stage for collaborative advancements and joint initiatives in space-related technologies.
  • Strengthened Defence Partnership: The visit further solidified the U.S.-India defence partnership, emphasizing the “Major Defence Partner” status of India. This recognition allows for increased technology sharing and more frequent cooperation between the two countries. It reflects the trust and confidence placed in India and strengthens the foundation for deeper collaboration in the future.
  • Indo-Pacific Security Cooperation: Discussions during the visit reaffirmed the strategic importance of the U.S.-India defence partnership in addressing common security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. Both countries recognize the shared concerns regarding China’s assertive actions and aim to work together to ensure a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific. The visit underscores their commitment to strengthening security cooperation in the region.
  • Advancement in Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI): The visit injected new momentum into the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), which aims to enhance co-production and co-development in the defence sector. The elevation of the India-U.S. strategic partnership through the iCET (Critical and Emerging Technology) agreement has been instrumental in revitalizing the DTTI and providing specific momentum to collaborative efforts in the defence industry.
  • Preparation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State Visit: The visit of the U.S. Defence Secretary set the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming state visit to the United States. It paved the way for potential major announcements and agreements, especially in the area of defence cooperation, further strengthening the partnership between the two nations.

What is The Indo-Pacific Imperative?

The Indo-Pacific imperative refers to the shared interests and concerns of India and the United States in the region, particularly regarding regional security challenges, economic connectivity, and freedom of navigation.

  • Common Threats: Both India and the United States recognize the challenges posed by China’s assertive actions in the Indo-Pacific region. The combined threat assessments by both countries point to China as a common and conspicuous challenge. This includes China’s expanding military capabilities, including its growing naval presence and subsurface activities in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
  • Regional Security Cooperation: The discussions during the visit focused on countering coercive actions by China and addressing other regional security concerns, such as Russia’s aggressive actions and transnational issues like terrorism and climate change.
  • Free and Open Indo-Pacific: India and the United States share a vision of a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. They are committed to upholding the principles of freedom of navigation, peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for international law.
  • Regional Cooperation Mechanisms: The U.S.-India defence partnership serves as a crucial pillar in various regional cooperation mechanisms in the Indo-Pacific. Through bilateral and multilateral engagements, including the Quad (comprising the United States, India, Japan, and Australia), India and the United States aim to enhance coordination, interoperability, and capacity-building efforts to address regional challenges effectively.
  • Counterbalance to China: As China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific grows, the U.S.-India defence partnership plays a significant role in providing a counterbalance to China’s assertiveness. By strengthening cooperation, sharing information, and developing shared capabilities, India and the United States can collectively address common security challenges and maintain regional stability.

Partnership

Conclusion

  • The visit of the U.S. Defence Secretary to India and the impending state visit of PM to the United States lay a strong foundation for an enduring U.S.-India defence partnership. The potential future prospects encompass various aspects, including enhanced defence cooperation, technological advancements, regional security collaborations, and the strengthening of defence industry partnerships. These prospects herald a promising future for two nations committed to forging a robust and mutually beneficial relationship.

Also read:

India-U.S. relationship: Critical Next Six Months

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

UAE withdraws from Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced its withdrawal from the U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a maritime coalition responsible for securing Gulf waterways crucial to global oil trade.

What is Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)?

Establishment 2002
Location Bahrain
Objective Promoting security, stability, and prosperity across maritime regions
Member Nations Over 30 member nations
Primary Task Forces Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151), Combined Task Force 152 (CTF 152)
Operations Counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, maritime security, and cooperation
Collaborations United Nations, European Union, NATO, and regional partners
Contributions Naval assets including warships, aircraft, and maritime patrol vessels
Focus Areas Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf, and surrounding areas

 

Reasons for UAE’s withdrawal

  • UAE has not provided specific reasons for its withdrawal from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in the official statement.
  • One potential factor could be a desire to distance themselves from perceived dependencies or entanglements with the US.
  • This could be part of a broader strategy by the UAE to assert its own regional influence, pursue independent foreign policies, or rebalance its relationships with China and Iran.

Recent incidents and tensions in Gulf Waters

  • In late April and early May, Iran seized two tankers, one of which was empty and travelling between the UAE ports of Dubai and Fujairah.
  • Iran was also accused of launching a drone attack on an Israeli-owned tanker in November 2022, escalating tensions with the United States.
  • As a response to increasing harassment by Iran, the US announced the deployment of reinforcements to the Gulf, a vital route for a significant portion of the world’s sea-borne oil.

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

India-U.S. relationship: Critical Next Six Months

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: I2U2

Mains level: India-U.S. relationship

India-U.S.

Central Idea

  • The India-U.S. relationship will be crucial in the next six months with engagements set to happen between the two countries on various forums like the G20, Quad, and I2U2.

Divergence and Convergence

  • The appointment of Eric Garcetti as the U.S. Ambassador to India signals the potential for greater partnership, but there are also differences to be overcome.
  1. The U.S. may want India to change its stance on the Ukraine crisis.
  2. India may want a stronger position against China.
  • However, the two countries share strong areas of convergence such as
  1. The India-U.S. Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology and
  2. The Indo-Pacific partnership aimed at promoting security, economic growth, and connectivity in the region.

India-U.S.

What is I2U2?

  • In July 2022, India, Israel, the United States (US), and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a hybrid summit announced the establishment of a new minilateral grouping called the I2U2.
  • The four countries envision their alliance as an ad-hoc, informal, issue-specific and geoeconomic initiative.

Realignment of U.S. Supply Chains

  • Disrupted supply chains: In recent years, there has been growing interest in diversifying supply chains away from China due to geopolitical tensions, trade disputes, and concerns about over-reliance on a single country.
  • India is emerging as attractive destination: India’s growing consumer market makes it an attractive destination for U.S. businesses looking to expand their customer base.

India-U.S.

Ups and Downs in India-U.S. relationship

  • The India-U.S. relationship has had its ups and downs over time, with key moments such as the nuclear deal, liberalisation of markets, and the outsourcing of Indian techies for U.S. companies.
  • The U.S. has also played an important role in making India an IT superpower.
  • The two countries are also partners in combating climate change and aligned on the importance of space technology.

Trust Deficit

  • In the past, there has been a trust deficit between India and the U.S., with Indians feeling that the U.S. has not always supported India and has instead supported Pakistan.
  • The U.S. has flagged issues related to terrorism, human rights, and democracy in India. However, the two countries can become stronger together by building on their strategic partnership.

Conclusion

  • The next six months will be critical for India-U.S. ties, with both countries looking to enhance collaboration and partnership. While there are differences in opinions to be addressed, the two countries also share strong areas of convergence that can be leveraged to strengthen their strategic partnership.

Mains Question

Q. What is I2U2 initiative? Evaluate how does it fit into the broader context of the India- US relationship?

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

I2U2: Significance Of The Minilateral Grouping

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: I2U2

Mains level: I2U2 development its significance for India and potential challenges

Central Idea

  • In July 2022, India, Israel, the United States (US), and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a hybrid summit announced the establishment of a new minilateral grouping called the I2U2. The four countries envision their alliance as an ad-hoc, informal, issue-specific and geoeconomic initiative.

Background: I2U2 forum

  • Following the Abraham Accords between Israel and the UAE, I2U2 was founded in October 2021 to address marine security, infrastructure, and transportation challenges in the region.
  • It was known as the ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’at the time. At that time, UAE had referred to the new grouping as the ‘West Asian Quad’.
  • As the Accords opened room for increased interactions between Israel and its Gulf neighbours, it has become less difficult for other partners like the US and India to engage with the region through plurilateral forums.
  • I2U2 prioritizes economic strengths over political differences, leveraging India’s growing economy, Israel’s technical expertise, UAE’s capital, and USA’s international clout for mutual cooperation.
  • I2U2 meetings explore B2B relations and establish I2U2 Business Forum; proposal to form ‘I2U2 Hub’ in UAE as ideation center for forging economic partnerships and sharing profits of intellectual property

Significance of I2U2: Own motivations for joining the grouping

  1. For India:
  • I2U2 bolsters India’s strategic engagement with West Asia and strengthens its robust bilateral relationships with the UAE, Israel, and the US.
  • India’s total trade with UAE amounted to US$ 73 billion in 2022, making UAE India’s third largest trading partner. UAE is also India’s second largest export destination and accounts for 40 percent of India’s total trade with the Arab world.
  • Israel, is one of India’s top suppliers of defence equipment and a key technology partner in different domains including defence, space, agriculture, and cybersecurity.
  • The US is India’s largest trading partner and second-largest foreign investor, with bilateral trade reaching US$ 119 billion in 2022 and investments accounting for 18 percent of total Foreign Direct Investment.
  1. For Israel:
  • From Israel’s perspective, I2U2 is a continuation of the Abraham Accords and presents a new opportunity to build a platform where it can combine its old partners (the US and India) with the new (UAE) through a wider economic and strategic partnership.
  1. For UAE:
  • The Emiratis is of the view that such a grouping, with a focus on complementarities, will help solve global challenges such as those related to security in food, energy, and water.
  • The UAE knows these challenges only too well, given its own food and water shortages, with an annual rainfall of only 100mm and importing 85 percent of its food supplies.
  • UAE also sees I2U2 as a platform that can serve its interests in strengthening bilateral ties with the other three nations, while placing itself as the bridge between West Asia and South Asia.
  1. For the United States:
  • The grouping is a low-hanging fruit, following the Abraham Accords, through which it can nurture relationships with its allies and partners bilaterally as well as multilaterally, especially in the West Asian region.
  • This also helps the US in checking the expanding Chinese footprint in the region, particularly in the fields of investment, innovation, and technology.
  • US participation also indicates that it has shed its traditional strategic and security lens and now views the world order in a trans-regional and multilateral way.

What makes this forum different?

  • Economic cooperation: The I2U2 is a regional forum focused on economic cooperation, distinguishing it from other forums like the Quad, Negev Forum, and AUKUS.
  • Six core sectors for intervention: The I2U2 has identified six core sectors for intervention are water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
  • Active role for joint investments: The grouping envisions an active role for private capital and technology, aiming to collaborate on joint investments, resource mobilization, and new initiatives.
  • Key global concerns are prioritized: Two key global concerns are being prioritised by the grouping food security and clean energy which have local, trans-regional and long-term dimensions.

Food corridor project

  • I2U2’s Food Security Project Addresses Global Hunger Crisis: I2U2 aims to combat global hunger crisis by utilizing member countries’ strengths in finance, technology, agriculture, and knowledge.
  • For instance: The project will use Israeli and American technology to establish integrated food parks in the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, with future expansion planned for other states, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra .
  • Broader objective is to create alternate supply chains: The broader objective of the initiative is to create alternate supply chains among countries with similar goals, to guarantee food security that is environmentally sustainable

Hybrid renewable energy project

  • Renewable Energy Project in Gujarat: I2U2’s second project aims to establish a 300 MW hybrid renewable energy facility in Gujarat with advanced battery storage technology developed through Israeli expertise and Emirati and American investments.
  • Strong Interest in UAE-India Partnership for Renewable Energy: UAE-based companies like Masdar are interested in partnering with India to explore renewable energy opportunities, especially with India’s goal of achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.

What are the Potential Challenges?

  • Security Interests Could Pose Challenges for I2U2: Individual countries may prioritize their own security interests, which could conflict with those of others.
  • For instance: US and Israeli outlook on West Asia is affected by Iranian rivalry, while India and UAE might have a different perspective. While these security considerations have not yet affected the project, the unpredictable situation with Iran could pose a challenge.
  • China’s Presence in the Region Raises Concerns: The US and India are wary of China’s expanding presence in the region through trade deals, infrastructure investments, and security cooperation whereas Israel and UAE, have a more positive view of China,
  • For instance: UAE upgrading its ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and Israel engaging in defence and technical cooperation with China
  • Institutional Bottlenecks Could Hinder I2U2: Institutional bottlenecks could be a potential roadblock for the I2U2 project, as there may be a lack of synergy in the working cultures of business people from the four countries, and accountability mechanisms may be vague.

Way ahead: India’s Stakes

  • India’s participation in I2U2 is crucial due to its position as a connector between West Asia and South Asia.
  • The initiative can bring investments, innovation and technology to India, boosting its journey to become the world’s third largest economy.
  • I2U2 can also support ‘Make in India’ by attracting manufacturing facilities in fields such as AI, fintech, transportation, and space.
  • To facilitate cooperation, India can designate nodal officers in its embassies and form a Coordinating Committee with the sherpa.
  • I2U2 could also inspire India to establish similar minilateral groupings with its partners in South Asia and Africa.

Conclusion

  • As an alternative to the dismal performance of most multilateral institutions, minilaterals like I2U2 provide hope for more effective and mutually beneficial international cooperation. Such platforms can provide a sound framework to explore opportunities, support collective resolution of global challenges, and unlock avenues for greater convergence of interests and actions between countries.

Mains Question

Q. What is I2U2 minilateral forum? Discuss the Significance of I2U2 as the member counties driven by own motivations for joining the grouping. Also note down the potential challenges.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

The India-US ICET: Transformative Impact On Bilateral Relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ICET

Mains level: India-US relations and technology cooperation, Significance of India

ICET

Centra Idea

  • Earlier this month, the U.S. and India inaugurated their initiative on critical and emerging technologies (ICET). The promise of this initiative, if fulfilled, could have a transformative impact on India-U.S. relations. On the eve of the dialogue, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said that the big need was to convert intentions and ideas into deliverables. This is where there has usually been a slip.

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Background

  • India’s attempts towards US Technology Parallels: Since the 1960s, India has made many attempts to jump on the U.S. technology bandwagon.
  • Failed because of mismatch: But all of them have failed, primarily because of the mismatch between the two countries on the purposes for which they collaborated.
  • The ICET is perhaps better positioned: Unlike the earlier iterations, it comes at a time when India, too, has developed technological and managerial capacities and is emerging as a major economic power.

ICET

What is Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ICET)?

  • Launched by PM Modi and President Joe Biden: The ICET initiative was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden in May 2022.
  • Goal to elevate and expand Indo-US Partnership: strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.
  • Directly monitored by PMO and White house: The Prime Minister’s Office in Delhi and the White House in Washington will oversee and direct the ICET.
  • Six focus areas of co-development and co-production: Strengthening innovation ecosystems, defence innovation and technology cooperation, resilient semiconductor supply chains, space, STEM talent, and next generation telecom.

American aid so far

  • Significant role in India’s development efforts and quest for technological capability: A major driver of the process was the Cold War which persuaded the U.S. to provide sweeping assistance in a range of areas to India. While the Soviet Union emerged as a major player in areas like steel, heavy electricals, petroleum and mining, the U.S. focused on modernising engineering and management education, science and technology (S&T), and agriculture.
  • Nuclear energy cooperation: US helped build India’s first reactors for research and power. An entire generation of Indian nuclear scientists were trained in the U.S., including some who subsequently helped in making nuclear weapons.
  • Aid in Education in initial phase and vice versa: The massive aid provided by the U.S. to modernise Indian education, especially engineering and management, should have led to a growing industrial sector, but the Indian economy stalled in the 1960s and India ended up with a system where IIT and IIM graduates ended up benefiting the U.S. economy.
  • Aid in agriculture: The one area in which India did get lasting and important benefits was agriculture where American S&T helped trigger the Green Revolution and end an era of food shortages.
  • Gandhi-Reagan Science and Technology Initiative: The Gandhi-Reagan Science and Technology Initiative led to the 1984 India-U.S. MoU on sensitive technologies, commodities and information.
  • New American willingness to promote Indian S&T and the arms industry: In 1987, the U.S. agreed to assist India’s Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) programme and allowed the sale of front-line GE 404 engine to India.

ICET

Current Status

  • India has steadily advanced in status as a friend of the U.S. and has purchased U.S. weapons and systems worth billions of dollars.
  • It is now deemed to be a Major Defence Partner, though not a Major Non-Nato Ally, a much more useful designation that Pakistan still retains.
  • The course has not been problem-free witness the pressure India faced under CAATSA and on account of its oil trade with Russia.

Ambitious goals

  • Great deal for India: The ICET has set up a range of ambitious goals which mean a great deal for India. Some of them are aspirational, others political. A few are over the top, such as the belief that the U.S. will help India to develop advanced jet engines.
  • Licence for jet engines: As of now, all that is on the table is the possible licence manufacture of GE-404/414 engines for the LCA. This is not new. But cutting-edge jet engines are the crown jewels of the U.S., which the country will not part with.

ICET

Conclusion

  • After presenting the Union Budget, the finance minister said in an interview, “This is a golden opportunity for India. We should really not miss the bus this time.” The remark is truer of the technology and industrialisation bus that the ICET could be.

Mains question

Q. What is Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ICET)? Highlight the significance of ICET for India while noting down the American cooperation so far.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Chinese balloon over the US and India as a Peacemaker

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Global geopolitical struggle and India's foreign policy

balloon

Context

  • On 1 February, a high-altitude balloon of Chinese origin was spotted over the US state of Montana, which also houses one of the country’s three active nuclear missile silos. on 4 February, US forces shot down the balloon over the country’s South Carolina coast and are now proceeding to collect some of the debris.

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Balloons for surveillance

  • Balloons could prove much cheaper and loiter for extended periods, providing continuous surveillance over targets, unlike satellites based on orbital motion.

How The US responded?

  • Initial assessment: The US government officially described it as a surveillance balloon with no immediate military or physical threat but was quick to go back on its initial assessment.
  • Incident as a part of Chinese larger troubling pattern: An American view describes the Chinese balloon incident as part of a larger, more troubling pattern.
  • China claims as it was civilian airship and unintentionally flown: Despite Chinese claims that the balloon was a harmless civilian airship that had unintentionally flown into US airspace, Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled his much-anticipated diplomatic visit to Beijing.
  • Issue is a matter of violation of sovereignty: The US has said that the balloon issue is a matter of violation of sovereignty, and, as of 4 February, there are reports of another balloon being spotted over South America that China has admitted is also theirs.

Similar experiments

  • US utilising high-altitude balloons: Not just China, the US has also experimented with utilising high-altitude balloons in space for a long time. In July 2022, NASA tested an aerial robotic balloon that would work in tandem with an orbiter to carry out scientific measurements of Venus.
  • UK demonstrated in 2022: In August 2022, the UK selected an American company to demonstrate an uncrewed platform for stratospheric communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). The need was for manoeuvrable, long-duration missions capable of locating targets anywhere on earth.

Global geopolitical struggle

  • Default mode but with different players: The event if viewed from a historical perspective, the world is back to its default mode, only this time, it has a different set of actors.
  • It involves various forms of power, primarily shaped by technology: Notably, there exist also nuclear weapons in the hands of nine powers, unlike during the Cold War era, when the number was confined to five.
  • Economic and technological integration is much greater than ever before: Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, attempts at desegregating economic and technological fields have not just continued but also gained momentum.
  • Camps led by the US and China: Global cooperation is in short supply and is being morphed into a coalition-building exercise ensconced in primarily two camps led by the US and China.

India’s posture in a polarized world

  • Benefited from lower cost supplies from China and Russia: Economically, it has maintained trade with China and benefited from lower-cost energy supplies from Russia.
  • India’s tilt towards west: After China’s aggression on the northern borders, India has tilted to the West, especially in the maritime and technological arenas.
  • Increasingly polarised world challenging India’s foreign policy: But as global tensions grow and confrontations increase, India could find itself under pressure to take sides even when its interests are not under contention. Therefore, there is a need to articulate a foreign policy paper on India’s alignment posture in a world that is becoming increasingly polarised.
  • This policy must foster partnerships based on context and not on blocs: India could join hands with the US and its allies in seeking an open and rules-based Indo-Pacific order. It could even partner with China on climate change if there is a congruence of interests.
  • Challenge is to avoid being dragged in war: In grand strategic terms, India’s challenge is to avoid being dragged into a World War that must be considered a growing possibility.

balloon

India as peacemaker

  • Exploring the role of a peace broker
  1. What could be at the back of the Indian strategic mind is to play the role of a peace broker and explore every possibility to make it count.
  2. This is important because the state of relations between the US and China does not seem to have many prospects for a return to dialogue that can facilitate consensus on bilateral, multilateral and global issues.
  3. It is a possibility reflected in the inability of the United Nations to intervene, as the major parties involved are themselves in contention for the position of the stronger superpower.
  • India may be getting into a position to make a peacebuilding attempt:
  1. A report by a US-based business intelligence consulting firm corroborates this asserts that India may be getting into a position to make a peacebuilding attempt
  2. According to this survey, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the world’s most popular global leaders. With a 78 per cent approval rating, Modi is far ahead of other contenders.

balloon

Conclusion

  • It is high time that Indian strategists explore the feasibility of making India a peacemaker. It is a difficult and challenging task that may seem impossible. But there is no reason not to try, as the Prime Minister and the posture of the nation has both internal and external popularity on its side.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

iCET: Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies between India and US

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: iCET

Mains level: India-US bilateral relations and High technology cooperation

iCET

Context

  • The talks between India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan in Washington this week have concluded with the announcement of a new road map for deeper military and techno-economic cooperation between the two countries that is iCET.

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Background: Idea first mooted in QUAD summit

  • The idea was first mooted in the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden on the margins of the Tokyo summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) last May.

Ups and downs in high technology cooperation in US-India relations

  • Early advances in India’s nuclear and space programs: High technology cooperation has long been a major focus of US-India relations. Early advances in India’s nuclear and space programmes in the 1950s and 1960s involved significant inputs from the US.
  • US nuclear sanctions and reduced cooperation: But the US nuclear sanctions from the 1970s steadily whittled down the extent of bilateral high-tech cooperation.
  • Civil nuclear initiative renewed cooperation: The historic civil nuclear initiative of 2005 opened the door for renewed technological cooperation.
  • Political ambivalence bureaucratic inertia prevented best use: But residual restrictions on technology transfer in Washington and Delhi’s political ambivalence and bureaucratic inertia prevented the best use of the new possibilities.
  • The iCET process and new possibilities ahead: The iCET process, which will be monitored and driven from the PMO in Delhi and the White House in Washington, will hopefully bring greater coherence to this round of India-US technological engagement.

 iCET

What is Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)?

  • Cooperation in emerging technology: The iCET is a partnership between India and the US to work together in developing important and new technologies.
  • Areas of collaboration for instance: The iCET involves collaboration in a range of areas including quantum computing, semiconductors, 5G and 6G wireless infrastructure, and civilian space projects such as lunar exploration.
  • Adding depth and breadth to already growing partnership: The iCET’s goal is to increase the technology interaction between the US and India while also potentially adding additional strategic depth and breadth to their growing partnership.
  • Directly monitored by PMO and White house: The Prime Minister’s Office in Delhi and the White House in Washington will oversee and direct the iCET.

iCET

Significance of iCET for India

  • The importance of iCET in the context of assertive China: Lending urgency to the iCET is the growing convergence of Indian and US interests in managing the security, economic, and technological challenges presented by a rising and assertive China.
  • India’s alternative for dependence on Russian military technology: India is also looking to reduce its over dependence on Russian weapons and military technology and to produce more weapons at home in partnership with western countries.
  • Boost to India’s technological capabilities: The iCET would provide India with access to cutting-edge technology and expertise in areas that are critical and emerging in nature.
  • Economic growth: Working together on new and important technologies can lead to more business between India and the US, which can help the economy grow as it will bring more investment and employment opportunities.

iCET

Other focus area: Cooperation in defence production

  • The two sides are also focused on cooperation in defence production.
  • While much of this cooperation will need to be fleshed out in the months ahead, Doval and Sullivan announced one concrete measure the making of a fighter jet engine in India.
  • GE Aerospace has applied for an export licence for jet engine production and phased transfer of technology to Indian entities. Washington promises to process this application expeditiously. This fits in nicely with Delhi’s plans to modernise its rusty defence industrial base.

Conclusion

  • If implemented with speed and purpose, the bilateral Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) could lend a new strategic depth and breadth to the expanding engagement between India and the United States.

Mains question

Q. What is Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)? Discuss the Importance of iCET especially for India.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Fateful Triangle China,USA and India and Changing World Order

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: International relations.India-china, India-USA

China

Context

  • America’s national security strategy issued by the Joe Biden Administration last week and the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th Congress this week promise to reshape the geopolitics of Asia and the Indo-Pacific.

Historical background of USA-CHINA

  • Context of World War II: Asia has seen multiple phases in the US-China relationship. In the second half of the 19th century, American missionaries began to arrive in China and began to generate empathy for the nation. During World War II, Washington backed Chinese nationalists in their fight against Japanese occupation.
  • US efforts to isolation China: The US tried to isolate China from 1949 when the communists prevailed over the nationalists.
  • Cooperation to counter Soviet: The 1970’s saw the US and communist China come together to counter the Soviet Union.
  • Multiple Economic engagement: The 1980s saw the beginning of an economic engagement that turned into a huge commercial and technological partnership from the 1990s.

China

What is the USA’s assumption and China’s ambition?

  • China as responsible stakeholder: The US establishment dismissed the idea of China as potential threat and bet that Beijing could become a “responsible stakeholder” in the world order.
  • Democratization of Chinese society is inevitable: America also believed that China’s growing economic prosperity would inevitably lead to greater democratisation of its society.
  • Visible decline of west: China, however, has steadily moved in the other direction, especially under Xi, who has convinced himself that the West is in terminal decline.
  • China’s ambition to change the world order: Xi is determined to seize this moment to reshape the Asian as well as the global order to suit Chinese interests. At the same time, China has become increasingly repressive at home.
  • Explicit expression of ambition: Xi made no effort to hide China’s new geopolitical ambition nor has he been defensive about his authoritarian rule. This, in turn, bestirred the US into rethinking its China policy in the second decade of the 21st century.

China

How China is asserting itself?

  • Asserting own version of Global order: Beijing, argues that recent history points to the superiority of the Chinese system over the Western one. And it offers its own versions of a global order – economic, political and social. Since the end of the Cold War, ideological arguments had receded into the background but are now back in significant play.
  • China offering model Economic Globalization: China continues to sing praises of the model of economic globalisation that has facilitated Beijing’s rise over the last four decades. But under Xi, China has emphasised the importance of self-reliance in the name of a “dual circulation strategy”.
  • Leveraging world’s dependence for strategic gain: At the same time, Beijing has sought to enhance the world’s dependence on its economy and leverage it for strategic benefit. The profound political backlash against trade and economic cooperation with China in the US led to the questioning of economic globalisation in the Trump years.
  • China building the powerful military: As China became a richer country, it also focused on building a powerful army. Using both the instruments of hard power, China under Xi has actively sought to undermine US alliances in Asia and mount pressure on American forward military presence in Asia.

China

How USA’s policy is changing towards China?

  • Structured policy of rivalry: The traditional soft attitude to China yielded to a more confrontational approach during the Donald Trump presidency. Joe Biden has developed that into a more structured policy of competing with China.
  • Combine challenge of China and Russia: The National Security Strategy of the Trump administration postulated the return of great power rivalry and the need to respond to the challenges presented by Russia and China. Biden’s NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY builds on that proposition and identifies China as the more demanding challenge than Russia, despite Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine.
  • China is more capable than Russia: In his foreword to the National security strategy, Biden says “Russia poses an immediate threat to the free and open international system, recklessly flouting the basic laws of the international order today, as its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has shown.” He names China, on the other hand, as “the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to advance that objective”. While the European challenge is real, the Biden Administration now sees the Indo-Pacific as the principal strategic theatre.
  • Projecting China as autocracy against the democracy: The US has sought to locate the conflict with China (and Russia) as a fundamental struggle between “democracies and autocracies”. Recognising the limited enthusiasm for the framing in Asia, the National security strategy now talks of broadening the coalition to include countries that may not be democratic. Beijing, on the other hand, argues that recent history points to the superiority of the Chinese system over the Western one.
  • Building the bilateral alliances: The US is now pushing back. The principal instrument in the US response has been rebuilding the traditional bilateral alliances with Japan and Australia as well as constructing new partnerships with countries like India and developing new regional coalitions.

India’s role in shaping the world order

  • Convergence of National interest wit USA: Today, Indian and American policies are converging. For both Delhi and Washington, Beijing presents the main national challenges.
  • Reducing economic dependence on China: On the economic and technological front, both India and the US are trying to reduce their exposure to China.
  • Keeping independent foreign policy: On the geopolitical front, a US plan to look beyond formal alliances suits Delhi, which is wedded to an independent foreign policy.
  • Opportunity for cooperation: It is never easy to translate abstract convergence into concrete policies. The current churn in Asia provides Delhi and Washington with a historic opportunity to build on the new convergences in the areas of trade, technology, and geopolitics.

 Conclusion

  • changing world order will have short term repercussion on economic front for developing country like India. India has a great opportunity to be the rule maker of new global order rather than just a rule follower. World order of 21st century will revolve around the fateful triangle of India, China and USA.

Mains Question

Q.Why the present world order is challenged by China? What role India can play as rule maker of new World order?

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Why India has lashed out at the US over its F-16 package to Pakistan?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: F-16

Mains level: US's double standards over Pakistan

f-16

EAM S Jaishankar has lashed out at the US for its decision to provide Pakistan with a $450 million package for F-16 case fighter aircraft upgrade.

F-16 and Pakistan

  • The F-16 is a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF).
  • Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft.
  • The F-16 were inducted into Pakistan Air Force in 1983 during the Soviet-Afghan War.

Suspicion over US move

  • This is the first American military assistance package to Pakistan after the Trump Administration.
  • Mr Trump ended defence and security co-operation with Pakistan in 2018 after accusing it of giving only “lies and deceit” for the billions of dollars that the US had “foolishly” given it.

What specific reasons has the Biden Administration given for its decision?

  • As per US version, the proposed sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.
  • The upgrade package aimed to retain interoperability with US and partner forces in ongoing counter-terrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations.

Why did US provide F-16 to the US?

  • India has been concerned about the F-16s from the time the US first gave Pakistan F-16s as a reward for its assistance in the first Afghan war.
  • The US then had supplied weapons and money to Pakistan to unleash armies of jihadists against the Soviet Army.
  • When the US objective was achieved with the Soviet Union’s departure from Afghanistan, the US too resized its relations with Pakistan.
  • The Pressler Amendment, aimed against Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions, froze it out of military assistance.
  • A decade later, the Bush Administration not only approved the release of previously blocked F-16s, but also provided a refurbishment package, and sale of new F-16s.

India’s concerns

  • As pointed out by EAM, how the F-16s help in counter-terrorism remains unclear.
  • Jaishankar questioned the merits of the US-Pakistan partnership.
  • He said that the relations had “not served” either country (but created more troubles for India).
  • This move by the US will alter the basic military balance in the region.
  • The decision to provide military aid to Pakistan incensed India as the F-16 was used against Indian warplanes following the 2019 Balakot air strikes.

Conclusion

  • Washington’s $450 million package has only resurrected old prejudices centred on the US not being a dependable ally for ever.
  • India needs to respond firmly and in no uncertain terms to the PAF’s F-16 upgrade programme to convey the message that India cannot be taken for granted.
  • India will have to effectively enhance the conventional combat capability of the IAF to continue to meet the challenge of a resurgent PAF.

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

In news: Commission of Global Notables

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Commission of Global Notables

Mains level: NA

Mexican President has proposed the setting up of a commission called ‘Commission of Global Notables’ comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Commission of Global Notables

  • Apart from Mr. Modi, the proposed “commission of global notables” includes Pope Francis and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
  • This is yet a proposal in writing presented to the UN
  • It is understood that the list will find mention during the annual session of the UN General Assembly that will convene in September.
  • PM Modi and other leaders of the Member States are expected to participate in the session when the global body will discuss the crises in Ukraine, Gaza Strip and the regional tension over Taiwan.

Significance for India

  • This shows significance of India under the present regime under PM Modi. We have to admit that India’s soft power is ever increasing.
  • PM Modi has also received high honours from the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bhutan and several other countries since since the beginning of his first stint in May 2014.
  • That apart, he has also received awards from international non-government organisations.

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

India and Minerals Security Partnership (MSP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MSP

Mains level: India's import dependece for semiconductors

India is aspiring to join the 11-member US-led partnership for critical mineral supply chains called ‘Minerals Security Partnership (MSP)’.

Why in news?

  • A group of western nations are cooperating to develop alternatives to China to ensure key industrial supplies.
  • This is a part of a global ‘China-plus-one’ strategy adopted post pandemic that caused massive supply-chain disruptions.
  • India is not part of this arrangement but New Delhi is working through diplomatic channels to fetch an entry.

What is the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP)?

  • The US and 10 partners — Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission — have come together to form the MSP.
  • The new grouping is aimed at catalysing investment from governments and the private sector to develop strategic opportunities.
  • Demand for critical minerals, which are essential for clean energy and other technologies, is projected to expand significantly in the coming decades.
  • The MSP will help catalyse investment from governments and the private sector for strategic opportunities — across the full value chain — that adhere to the highest environmental, social, and governance standards.

Focus of MSP

  • The new grouping could focus on the supply chains of minerals such as Cobalt, Nickel, Lithium, and also the 17 ‘rare earth’ minerals.
  • The alliance is seen as primarily focused on evolving an alternative to China, which has created processing infrastructure in rare earth minerals and has acquired mines in Africa for elements such as Cobalt.

What are Rare Earth Elements?

  • The 17 rare earth elements (REE) include the 15 Lanthanides (atomic numbers 57 — which is Lanthanum — to 71 in the periodic table) plus Scandium (atomic number 21) and Yttrium (39).
  • REEs are classified as light RE elements (LREE) and heavy RE elements (HREE).
  • Some REEs are available in India — such as Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium, Praseodymium and Samarium, etc.
  • Others such as Dysprosium, Terbium, and Europium, which are classified as HREEs, are not available in Indian deposits in extractable quantities.

Why are these minerals important?

  • Minerals like Cobalt, Nickel, and Lithium are required for batteries used in electric vehicles.
  • REEs are an essential — although often tiny — component of more than 200 consumer products, including mobile phones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, semiconductors etc.

Where does India stand?

  • There is a dependence on countries such as China for HREEs, which is one of the leading producers of REEs, with an estimated 70 per cent share of the global production.
  • India is seen as a late mover in attempts to enter the lithium value chain, coming at a time when EVs are predicted to be a sector ripe for disruption.
  • The year 2022 is likely to be an inflection point for battery technology — with several potential improvements to the Li-ion technology.
  • India has an ambitious plan to convert a large percentage of its transport to electric, and would require these minerals.
  • According to the plan, 80 per cent of the country’s two- and three-wheeler fleet, 40 per cent of buses, and 30 to 70 per cent of cars will be EVs by 2030.

What is India’s major concern at this moment?

  • If India is not able to explore and produce these minerals, it will have to depend on a handful of countries, including China, to power its energy transition plans to electric vehicles.
  • That will be similar to our dependence on a few countries for oil.

Why was India excluded?

  • Industry watchers say that the reason India would not have found a place in the MSP grouping is that the country does not bring any expertise to the table.
  • In the group, countries like Australia and Canada have reserves and also the technology to extract them, and countries like Japan have the technology to process REEs.

 

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Defence and technology cooperation is key to US-India partnership

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- India-US relations

Context

The possibility of India’s continuing rise over this century seems to be on a stronger wicket today than it did a decade ago, marred as the early 2010s were by political instability and economic turmoil.

Historical background of dominance of world economy by the East

  • Prior to the era of colonial exploitation followed by self-inflicted stagnation due to communist economic policies adopted across the region, the ancient civilisations of India and China dominated the world economy
  • There existed a deep history of scientific innovation and technological prowess, which spread by osmosis and intercourse from the East to the West.
  • The West, led principally by Great Britain, then stole a march over Asia with the advent of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Emergence of the US: A pyrrhic victory for Britain in the Second World War marked the formal transfer of the Western bloc’s leadership to the US.

Geopolitics in 2020s

  • Emergence of China: China is now home to a manufacturing-led and technology-driven economy, competing head-on with the US in areas like biotech, robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced materials.
  • India, which faced an economic setback when the liberalisation process largely came to a halt between 2004-2014, is back on its feet, with consistent commitment and concerted policy action focused on building domestic capabilities in critical technologies as well as in key manufacturing industries and pursuing important structural economic reforms.
  • Common threat of China: From seeing non-democratic China as a benign partner, the US now sees it as a threat, the present preoccupations in Europe notwithstanding.
  • India, which for a time welcomed Chinese involvement in its economy, has also recalibrated after the 2020 Galwan face-off.
  • Unlike India and the US, which are both well-established republics with deep democratic cultures, China is “a party with a state attached to it”.
  • Concerns for India:  Being inextricably linked by geography, Beijing’s ambition to dominate its periphery and proximate region is of particular concern to India.

What this mean for India-US relations?

  • Natural allies: Given this background, India and the US are natural allies to confront the challenges posed by an expansionist and aggressive China in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
  • New areas of cooperation: There are clear signals of unprecedented cooperation between the two countries in areas like national security, defence production and most prominently, new-age information technology and internet industries where American financial firms and blue-chip corporates are contributing growth capital as well as know-how.
  • Closer cooperation in scientific research and critical emerging technologies is imperative.
  • Reducing India’s dependence for defence equipment: In particular, as some American lawmakers highlighted when providing India with exemption under CAATSA that the American defence industry should contribute to reducing India’s dependence on Russian armaments and equipment.
  • Technology cooperation: Connected to the expansion of defence-industrial ties is the broadening of technology collaboration in areas like artificial intelligence, drones, advanced materials, space technology, semiconductors, and biotech in India, beyond the consumer tech and software sectors.

Conclusion

Demographic and economic trends firmly position India as a global force that will have the weight to stride alongside America and China, who would constitute the other two geopolitical — and ideological — poles over the 21st century.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

CAATSA: the US law to sanction transactions with Russia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CAATSA

Mains level: Not Much

A US senator has said the US government must not impose sanctions on India under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for its purchase of S-400 missile weapons system from Russia.

What is the CAATSA?

  • CAATSA is a law that came into effect in the US in 2017, meant to punish countries having deep engagements with Russia, North Korea, and Iran using economic sanctions.
  • It said countries having a “significant transaction” with Russian intelligence and military agents will be subject to at least five kinds of sanctions.
  • Ordinary transactions will not invite sanctions, and the decision of who has sanctions imposed on them comes down to the interpretation of “significant transaction”.
  • This is one of the various waivers or exemptions mentioned, such as the transaction not affecting US strategic interests, not endangering the alliances it is a part of, etc.

Could it apply to India?

  • India has purchased the S-400 Triumf missile systems, which have advanced capabilities to judge the distance from a target and launch a surface-to-air missile attack.
  • Five such systems were bought by India in 2018 for US$ 5.5 billion and in November last year, their delivery began.
  • They were deployed in Punjab.
  • However, the application of CAATSA is not limited to the S-400, and may include other joint ventures for manufacturing or developing weapons in the future, or any other kinds of major deals with Russia.

Why did the US enact a law like CAATSA?

  • The US flagged issues of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential elections, and its role in the Syrian war as some of the reasons for punishing engagement with it.
  • EU countries that had even more significant ties with Russia for oil and gas supply before the Ukraine-Russia conflict in 2022, had also criticised CAATSA.

Countries facing sanctions

  • The US has placed sanctions on China and Turkey for purchase of the S-400.
  • The sanctions included denial of export licences, ban on foreign exchange transactions, blocking of all property and interests in property within the US jurisdiction and a visa ban.

Likely impacts after India’s purchase

  • The Biden administration has no firm indication on where it leans on India’s case.
  • However, several senators (US parliamentarians) have called upon the Biden administration to consider a special waiver for India.
  • This is on account of India’s importance as a defence partner, and as a strategic partner on US concerns over China and in the Quad.
  • Other US leaders thinks that giving a waiver to India would be the wrong signal for others seeking to go ahead with similar deals.

Why is the S-400 deal so important to India?

  • Security paradigm: S-400 is very important for India’s national security considerations due to the threats from China, Pakistan and now Afghanistan.
  • Air defence capability: The system will also offset the air defence capability gaps due to the IAF’s dwindling fighter squadron strength.
  • Russian legacy: Integrating the S-400 will be much easier as India has a large number of legacy Russian air defence systems.
  • Strategic autonomy: For both political as well as operational reasons, the deal is at a point of no return.

 

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

What is the I2U2 Initiative?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Abraham Accord, I2U2

Mains level: Read the attached story

The US administration has named the new grouping as “I2U2” — “I” for India and Israel and “U” for the US and UAE. This was earlier referred as West Asian Quad.

What is the news?

  • US President Joe Biden will host a virtual summit with PM Modi, Israel PM Naftali Bennett and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to West Asia from July 13 to 16.

I2U2 Initiative

  • Following the Abraham Accords between Israel and the UAE, I2U2 was founded in October 2021 to address marine security, infrastructure, and transportation challenges in the region.
  • It was known as the ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’at the time.
  • At that time, UAE had referred to the new grouping as the ‘West Asian Quad’.

What makes this deal outstanding?

  • UAE forming sharing desk with Israel is no easy deal. Arab sentiments against Israel and their proposition for Anti-Semitism are well known.

Significance of the initiative

  • I2U2 seeks to empower the partners and encourages them to collaborate more closely, resulting in a more stable region.
  • India is seen as a large consumer market as well as a large producer of high-tech and highly sought-after items in the United States.
  • This has led India to enhance its relationship with Israel without jeopardising its ties with the UAE and other Arab states.

Back2Basics: Abraham Accords

  • The Israel–UAE normalization agreement is officially called the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement.
  • It was initially agreed to in a joint statement by the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 13, 2020.
  • The UAE thus became the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to agree to formally normalize its relationship with Israel as well as the first Persian Gulf country to do so.
  • Concurrently, Israel agreed to suspend plans for annexing parts of the West Bank. The agreement normalized what had long been informal but robust foreign relations between the two countries.

 

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