The US President’s Legacy on US-India Relations – The Diplomat

Narendra Modi will visit the United States in early June 2016 for the fourth time in two years as Prime Minister of India. This clearly indicates the deepening of the engagement process between India and the United States; both sides are developing a deeper understanding of a wide range of bilateral and global issues and making steady progress.

This is the last year in office of US President Barack Obama. Modi’s visit to Washington will be an opportunity to pay tribute to Obama for what his administration has done to deepen the India-US strategic partnership.

The best tribute to Obama’s legacy would be for the two sides to clearly articulate a vision for the long-term India-US strategic partnership. Thereafter, they must strive to implement the policies and plans to which they committed on paper during Obama’s tenure.

For Obama, Modi’s visit is a chance to articulate his long-term vision for the India-US strategic partnership and how he would like to see that partnership flourish in the future under his successors. Modi will have a golden opportunity to do the same. During this visit, the Prime Minister of India will have the honor of addressing a joint session of the US Congress on June 8, 2016. As Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn, co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, the only specific caucus to a country in the U.S. Senate, said in a joint statement, “Modi’s invitation to address Congress demonstrates the growing commitment to strengthening the strategic partnership between the United States and India.” It will be a historic opportunity for Modi. When addressing the US Congress, he should clearly articulate his vision for India, its role in regional and global affairs, and the long-term future of the India-US strategic partnership.

During this visit, Modi is also expected to meet key leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties in the United States to build personal relationships with them. It should be noted that regardless of which candidate wins the White House in the next four years, the ties between India and the United States will continue to grow as there is a deeper awareness in the two countries that the strategic partnership is based on shared values, shared interests and shared relationships. challenges. That is why there is bipartisan support in both countries to strengthen this vital strategic partnership between the world’s two largest democracies.

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Obama has elevated the strategic partnership between India and the United States to new levels. As president, he visited India twice, the only US president to do so. During his tenure, the relationship between India and the United States grew and grew into a global strategic partnership. Defense ties between India and the United States, in particular, have deepened over the years. Bilateral defense trade reached approximately $14 billion. The Malabar naval exercises are a regular annual feature, and India conducts more military exercises with the United States than with any other nation. There is also deeper collaboration on co-production and co-development of defense equipment under the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), which fits very well with the visionary “Make in India” program launched by Modi.

Last year, in June, India and the United States renewed their Defense Framework Agreement for another 10 years when Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited India. Carter attaches great importance to India, which he has called “an anchor of global security”, and visited there several times during his short tenure as US Secretary of Defense. There is a deeper understanding between the two parties on three fundamental defense agreements: the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Understanding (CISMOA) and the base for exchange and cooperation (BECA). The LSA, now in the form of a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA), has been accepted “in principle” and is expected to be signed soon by the two countries. India and the United States also held their first maritime security dialogue in New Delhi on May 16 this month.

Apart from defense and security, India and the United States must also work closely together in all other vital areas, as the strategic partnership between India and the United States is very comprehensive and broad-based. Economically, efforts should be made to strengthen bilateral trade, which is still very weak compared to the vast capacities and resources of the world’s two largest democratic nations. Both sides should strive to increase bilateral trade to $500 billion in the coming years, as trade exchange currently exceeds $100 billion a year.

Education, agriculture, energy, health, space, science and technology, research and development and climate change are all equally vital areas of cooperation for the two nations. These aspects of the strategic partnership must always receive as much attention and importance as defense and security issues; India and the United States must never lose sight of these crucial areas of cooperation. The true potential of this India-US strategic partnership can only be realized when there is extensive cooperation in all vital strategic areas. It is of the utmost importance that the two nations help each other to build the capacity of the other.

The vision of this strategic partnership should aim to build secure and prosperous societies and nations and the world. It should be focused on improving the lives of peoples, societies, nations and the world. This forward-looking vision must constantly guide the leaders and decision-makers of both nations, which will provide momentum to the partnership. The strategic partnership between India and the United States, as Obama said, is destined to shape the Asia-Pacific region and the world in the 21st century.

During Obama’s visit to India in January 2015, a remarkable joint statement on the Asia-Pacific region was issued, which indicated the two nations’ utmost commitment to collaboration and cooperation in the world’s most vital region today. today. Deeper collaboration between India and the United States in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere in the world can only be achieved if both nations strive to build each other’s internal strengths and capabilities wherever that is. necessary. This will give them the confidence to operate jointly at regional and global levels. In doing so, India and the United States should not send the message that they are uniting against China. In fact, it must be made clear that the strategic partnership between India and the United States is not about containing a third country, but about working closely together to build a secure and prosperous future for their people, the region and the world.

Sanjeev Shrivastav is a research fellow at the North America Center at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in New Delhi.

Kevin E. Boling