Event ReportsPublished on Jun 09, 2014
During a closed door discussion with US Assistant Secretary Nisha Desai Biswal, Indian strategic thinkers and foreign policy experts discussed the new opportunities lying ahead for greater India-US cooperation.
New opportunities ahead for greater India-US cooperation

Observer Research Foundation hosted a discussion with Ms. Nisha Desai Biswal, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, US Department of State, on June 9, 2014 on the India-US relationship and the American engagement with South Asia. Leading Indian foreign policy experts and strategic thinkers participated in the closed door discussion.

The discussion began with the recognition of the opportunity that lies ahead for India and the US to consolidate further their partnership, especially after the formation of a strong government in Delhi. It was agreed that there are broad areas in which India and the US can establish further cooperation, including in domains of cyber, space, nuclear and defence technology, and in facilitating a smoother economic and political transition in countries like Myanmar and Afghanistan.

On the civil nuclear deal, it was affirmed that India has addressed most of the concerns and experts reiterated that the civil liability for nuclear damage act, which is seen as the hurdle impeding progress, is quite similar to the one of some other nations, with which the US firms seem to have no troubles in striking deals.

Briefly touching upon the case of Khobragade, the discussants unanimously accepted that the unfortunate turn of events caught both the nations unprepared and that lessons must be learned to better manage such situations that may come up in future, and not allow them to affect the broader bilateral relations between the two nations.

Also discussed was the importance of a more integrated South Asia. The US administration is hopeful that India?s efforts and leadership can help facilitate this greater regional integration, while simultaneously ensuring that the acts of political repression and human rights abuse are avoided.

While examining China?s role in the future of Asia, it was agreed that one?s ambitions cannot be given space at the cost of the other and that there has to be a greater balance in Asia in the same regard.

The discussion concluded with an emphasis of the American view that wishes to see India taking a more proactive and assertive role in issues of regional and global affairs and even though the two great democracies may differ in the process, a strong India will be crucial to the realisation of stability and peace in Asia and the rest of the world.

(This report is prepared by Arka Biswas, Junior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation)

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