THE UNITED STATES IN THE COMING DECADES:
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR INDIA
The last few years have seen the strengthening of the Indo-US relationship.
The competition between India and China on one hand, and China and the
US, on the other, has facilitated greater cooperation between India and the
US since the Cold War.
In the security domain, the Indo-US nuclear deal has enhanced diplomatic
dialogue between the two states, securing India a special waiver in the
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). While Afghanistan will likely remain another
crucial area of convergence between the US and India, it will also largely
depend on the emerging nature of ties between Islamabad and Washington
under the newly elected Joe Biden administration. As understood, former
President Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan with the
help of Pakistan, became a security concern for India. The success of the
inaugural 2+2 India-US dialogue, initiated by the previous US
administration, however, provides a valuable platform to both sides to
discuss the potential for greater convergence to preserve their security and
strategic interests , particularly with regard to the Indo-Pacific region.
India's member ship in the 'Quad' affirms the commitment of the two
countries and their partners – Japan and Australia -- towards maintaining
stability and inclusivity in and of the Indo-Pacific Region.
Considering Trump's West Asia policy, it will be worth discussing the likely trajectory of ties between Washington and some of the West Asian capitals,
including Tehran, under the new US administration. Notwithstanding the
recent normalisation of relations between Is rael and a couple of Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) states, the existing tensions between Is rael, Iran,
Saudi Arabia and the US may have implications not only on India's energy
security but also on its socio-economic interests. Nevertheless, the
realignment of relations in West Asia could open possibilities for joint
collaboration between India, the US and some of the West Asian countries.
Another area of concern for India is the new US law mandating sanctions
against countries importing arms from Russia. It, therefore, remains to be
seen how the Biden administration would look at the ongoing defence-
related ties between New Delhi and Moscow.
On the economic side, the US-India bilateral trade relations have been
growing over the last fifteen years in areas of blue economy, defence trade
and technology transfer. The US' effort to restrain an ever-rising China has
carved opportunities for India to emerge as an alternative market for the US
in the Indo-Pacific.
In the years to come, the Indo-US partner shiphinges on important factors
like trade relations. Under the Modi administration, considerable progress
has been achieved in opening the economy for foreign direct investments.
Moreover, given India's growing demand for energy, which also coincides
with the rising US oil and gas production, the bilateral energy ties could
possibly be uplifted to a new level. However, with the US side lamenting the
trade deficit with its partners, India would have to eventually bring in
regulatory reforms to ensure the sustainability of this strategic partnership.