Dustin Carmack, et al., India-U.S. Relations: Priorities in the Next Decade, June 2022, Observer Research Foundation and The Heritage Foundation.
The India–United States (US) partnership—pivotal in maintaining international security and order—could yet be the defining one for this century. The US is India’s most comprehensive strategic partner, and cooperation between the two extends across multiple areas such as trade, defence, multilateralism, intelligence, cyberspace, civil nuclear energy, education, and healthcare. As the two nations venture into a new decade, they must articulate a new agenda for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region which they are both committed to keeping “free and open”.
In recent years, exigencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic have redirected the relationship to a forward-looking assessment of regional and global geopolitics. The sectors that will be key to shaping the arc of a strong Indo-US relationship in the years ahead are the following: emerging technologies; national security and defence cooperation; counterterrorism; and trade.
Today, bilateral defence cooperation has exceeded even the more optimistic predictions that were being made a decade ago. While some of the heaviest lifting has already been done, tasks remain in streamlining procedures, reducing bureaucratic obstacles, inaugurating new military exercises, and re-energising the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative.
Beyond defence ties, the relationship has begun expanding in scope from the bilateral to the multilateral while embracing a wider range of issues that include: civilian nuclear cooperation and nuclear non-proliferation; infrastructure financing; the production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines; humanitarian aid and disaster relief; peacekeeping and education; space and cyber security; countering terrorism and extremism; governance of the oceans; and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific and the rules-based order.
Meanwhile, two multilateral strategic dialogues that have gained prominence in recent years are the Quad grouping (of India, Australia, Japan, and the US) revived in 2017, and the new West Asian Quad or I2U2 (comprising Israel, India, United Arab Emirates, and the US) inaugurated in 2021. The Quad has become a premier format for India and the US to pursue targeted multilateral cooperation with like-minded democracies while the West Asian Quad’s focus on technology cooperation carries unique potential.
Now that America’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan has reduced its dependence on Pakistan for supply routes, India-US counterterrorism cooperation is likely to expand further, to include multilateral efforts to apply pressure on the Pakistani military-intelligence complex to abandon support for terrorist groups. India and the US must also collaborate with each other, and with other like-minded partners, to meet the urgent need for infrastructure investments in the Indo-Pacific and the growing appetite amongst regional capitals for higher-quality, more reliable alternatives to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Finally, as India and the United States look toward strengthening global value chains (GVCs), they must enhance two-way foreign direct investments (FDI) and provide incentives for the private sector to make investments that facilitate integrated GVCs that serve both countries’ economic and national security interests.
This report recommends that India and the US:
Read the entire report here.
Dustin Carmack is a Research Fellow for cybersecurity, intelligence, and emerging technologies at The Heritage Foundation.
Akshay Mathur is former Director of ORF, Mumbai.
Harsh V Pant is Vice President for Studies and Foreign Policy at the Observer Research Foundation.
Trisha Ray is Associate Fellow at ORF’s Centre for Security, Strategy and Technology.
Jeff Smith is a Research Fellow for South Asia at The Heritage Foundation.
Kabir Taneja is a Fellow with the Strategic Studies Programme at the Observer Research Foundation.
The Heritage Foundation, based in Washington, DC, seeks to formulate and promote public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defence.
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Dustin Carmack is a research fellow for cybersecurity intelligence and emerging technologies at The Heritage Foundation.Read More +
Akshay was the Director of ORF Mumbai and Head of Geoeconomics Studies Programme at ORF.Read More +
Professor Harsh V. Pant is Vice President – Studies and Foreign Policy at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. He is a Professor of International Relations ...Read More +
Jeff Smith is the Director of Asian Security Programs at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC.Read More +
Kabir Taneja is a Fellow with Strategic Studies programme. His research focuses on Indias relations with West Asia specifically looking at the domestic political dynamics ...Read More +