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The Dawn of a Destined Partnership, Indo- US Relations
By Srimal Fernando, Global Editor The Diplomatic Society and Pratyush Ranjan*

US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave prior to a meeting in New Delhi on January 25, 2015.

The special diplomatic relationship between the world’s largest democracies, India and the United States of America is firmly rooted in aspirations, responsibilities and shared interests. Formal diplomatic relations started on October 22, 1946 when the respective missions were elevated to the rank of embassies. Both these Embassies in Washington and in New Delhi, have been a key factor in solidifying and deepening Indo-US relations over the past 70 years.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the United States during the Harry Truman Presidency in 1949. Diplomatic proximity multiplied when Dwight D Eisenhower became the first President from US to visit India, in 1959. President Eisenhower assured India of providing basic assistance and stand by in the event of any security threat. The relations between the two nations hit unprecedented levels during the presidency of John F Kennedy showing immense confidence in the emerging Asian democracy. There had been increased instances of meetings and co-operation at various bilateral and multilateral levels, and also at various levels of governmental hierarchies. President Obama visited India twice.

The US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue held in 2015 was the expanded version of the US-India Strategic Dialogue, organised annually since 2009, aimed to strengthen coactions in the spheres of global security, commerce and have collaborated in a number of areas. 

The 10-year Defence Framework Agreement was also renewed after successfully serving the purpose for ten years since 2005. The two nations participated in various military exercises like Malabar and Yudh Abhyas. The USA has facilitated India’s participation in the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise known as the Rim of the Pacific Exercise or RIMPAC in 2016.
Relations glittered at backdrop of 123-Agreement or India–US Civil Nuclear Agreement that was finalised during President Bush’s visit to India in 2006. More notably due to the US diplomatic efforts, India happens to be the only non-member nation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to posses nuclear weapons, and carrying out global nuclear commerce.
There is markedly increased collaboration in science and technology, including space technology, involving a future joint Mars mission and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) project.

Indian Prime Minister Modi visited the U.S. in September 2014 during which the two governments initiated and finalised a plethora of cooperative agreements under the banner, “Forward Together We Go”, terming each other “strategic partners.” They promised on collaborating in securing ‎ United Nations Security Council (UNSC ) ‎Permanent ‎Seat for India.

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) chats with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (L) at the U.S-India Strategic & Commercial Dialogue

With the development of mutual understanding of priorities, trust and informality, that stood the test of time Indo- US economic relations, with a constant increasing trend over the recent years, represent an important factor for making the overall bilateral cooperation more dynamic. Bilateral trade in goods and services reached US$ 103 billion (2015) which the United States Ambassador to India , Richard Verma anticipates to expand to US$ 500 billion. US is also keen to elevate India into a regional economic superpower through various initiatives like the India-Pacific Economic Corridor (IPEC).

 Today, relations have never been better, India holds a unique place in U.S. history. The 3.4 million strong-Indian Americans or “Asian Indians” form the most socio-economic-educationally flourishing ethnic group in the Unites States. India continues to be that reliable, credible friend for the U.S. For the past seven decades US and India have enjoyed strong mutual trust, understanding, close cooperation and true friendship Both nations are reliable partners, have laid out ambitious, forward-looking plans to transform their countries partnership. 

*Pratyush Ranjan is an Indian Masters Scholar of International Relations at South Asian University, New Delhi.

 

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April 2018

 
 
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