India-US relations forge an equitable path of collaboration

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-anticipated journey to America has taken centre stage, captivating the attention of news media worldwide.
India-US relations forge an equitable path of collaboration

 Dipak Kurmi

(The writer can be reached at

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-anticipated journey to America has taken centre stage, captivating the attention of news media worldwide. While the visits of Indian Prime Ministers have historically piqued curiosity and garnered considerable attraction, the recent diplomatic venture by Prime Minister Modi has been nothing short of extraordinary. This noteworthy visit not only witnessed pivotal decisions surrounding economic and trade relations between India and America but also marked significant strides in strategic acquisitions, technology collaborations, and a heartfelt reception at the prestigious White House. The delightful ripple of satisfaction has reverberated back home, evoking a sense of pride and contentment across India.

Amidst the backdrop of a historically complex relationship between two great democracies, the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States has brought forth a peculiar narrative. Even in the present, certain factions within the United States persist in pointing fingers at India, employing false narratives surrounding freedom of expression, the press, the protection of ethnic minorities, and democracy. Past instances have witnessed the success of these elements, as they managed to cast shadows on official statements, rhetoric, and the public stance taken during official proceedings. However, the remarkable accomplishment of PM Modi’s visit lies in the diplomatic preconception that such remarks would not surface during his esteemed presence. This tangible demonstration signifies a remarkable equilibrium in the bilateral relations between the two nations, epitomising a sense of equality.

Within the joint statement issued by the two leaders, a resounding commitment emerges: the facilitation of enhanced technology sharing, co-development, and co-production endeavors between the United States and India across industries, government entities, and academic institutions. Particularly noteworthy are India’s remarkable strides in burgeoning domains such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, space exploration, and telecommunications, among others. Recognising this progress, both nations have joined forces, pledging to collaborate and pool their expertise in these cutting-edge fields. This alliance reflects a burgeoning bond between two formidable economic and technological powerhouses, poised to forge an even stronger relationship in the future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States takes on heightened significance against the backdrop of the immense challenges currently faced by the nation—economic, diplomatic, and strategic in nature. The international community recognises India as a key player, poised to contribute significantly to the global economy. Once dominant, the US dollar’s stronghold as the world’s reserve currency has diminished, now accounting for around 54 percent compared to its previous 70 percent. Presently grappling with the worst inflation in a century, the United States finds its status as a global powerhouse diminished following its sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan, which led to the rise of a fundamentalist regime. Moreover, the failure to effectively address the Russia-Ukraine conflict has resulted in continuous losses for Ukraine, amplifying energy concerns, general inflation, and disruptions in the global supply chain, ultimately exposing the vulnerabilities of the US’s superpower image.

Amidst these challenging circumstances, the United States finds itself in dire need of capable and reliable partners who possess the influence to engage with world leaders. Notably, the historical dynamics between India and America have often been marked by inherent inequality. Furthermore, America has predominantly aligned itself with Pakistan from a strategic standpoint. While bitterness may not have permeated the relationship between India and America since the Cold War era, genuine harmony has been elusive. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union, China’s economic rise, and India’s steadfast progress have introduced new chapters in their bilateral ties. In 2000, then-US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India and the subsequent signing of a landmark agreement on civil nuclear cooperation paved the way for a transformative phase in trade, investment, and a burgeoning strategic partnership between the two nations. During Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit, a historic milestone was achieved with the transfer of fighter jet engine technology by GE, representing a significant departure from past US policies.

In light of China’s expanding influence and its formidable challenge to America’s superpower status, India has emerged as a natural and strategic partner for the United States. Recognising the need to counterbalance this shifting global landscape, the formation of the Quad Alliance comprising India, America, Japan, and Australia became an organic outcome, reflecting a shared vision and common interests in promoting stability, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Currently, Indo-American relations encompass multifaceted cooperation, spanning economic ties, strategic collaborations, technological advancements, and a burgeoning connection between the people of both nations. Over the past decade, a renewed sense of warmth has permeated the bilateral relationship between India and America, despite occasional instances of discord. India has emerged as a pivotal partner, solidifying its position as a key ally on the global stage.

India’s reliance on imports for defence goods, both from Russia and Western countries, including the United States, has witnessed a decline. However, in a remarkable shift, India has embarked on a new trajectory by emerging as an exporter of defence goods to various regions across the globe. This development showcases India’s growing prowess in the defence sector, transforming it from a predominantly import-dependent nation to a formidable player that contributes to the security needs of other nations worldwide.

Trade relations between India and the United States faced strain as the US implemented higher tariffs on numerous Indian imports as part of their self-reliance initiatives, prompting India to respond by imposing increased import duties on various American products. However, recognising the significance of their economic interests, both nations have reached a pivotal agreement to resolve their trade disputes. During the Prime Minister’s ongoing visit to the US, a landmark decision has been made: India will withdraw retaliatory tariffs on American goods, while America, in turn, will withdraw its grievances against India within the World Trade Organisation. This accord marks a significant milestone in fostering a new era of equitable treatment in India-US relations, where decisions are no longer one-sided but seek to establish a balance of fairness.

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