USA- INDIA RELATIONSHIP BY: AKASH AGRAWAL
PM MODI VISIT TO USA PM Modi paid official visit to US. This was the fourth visit of PM to US and first direct official meet with President Donald Trump. India-US bilateral relations have developed into a global strategic partnership, based on shared democratic values and increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues Highlights of the visit - The joint statement released by India and US can be seen as a renewed interest of Trump - - administration to actively engage with India not only in bilateral but also in global issues. Defence cooperation - US has cleared the sale of 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India, with the deal being termed as a "game changer". The deal, estimated to be worth S2-3 billion, has been approved by the State Department.
Maritime security and data sharing - Both leaders announced their intention to 'build on the implementation of the "White Shipping" data sharing arrangement. The agreement allows countries to share data on maritime traffic and domain awareness. - Noting the importance of the upcoming MALABAR naval exercise, the leaders determined to expand their engagements on shared maritime objectives and to explore new exercises Terror and Pakistan - In a joint statement, the leaders called on Pakistan to ensure its territory is not used to launclh terrorist attacks on other countries They further called on Pakistan to "expeditiously bring to justice perpetrators" of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks by Pakistan-based groups. -
- The US State Department moved to make Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin a Designated Global Terrorist, a move that was welcomed by India. - US also committed to UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, an Indian initiative. - Climate change - Climate change, which was a major component of Mr. Modi's engagement with Mr. Obama, did not come up in the joint statement with Mr. Trump Mr. Trump had announced that the US would be pulling out of the landmark Paris accord pointing fingers at India and China. - - US support for India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council, membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group has been reiterated.
North Korea - Dealing with North Korea is now a component of India-US cooperation, and the statement obliquely blamed China and Pakistan in this context. - The two leaders condemned the country's "continued provocations" U.S. LNG for India - Foreign Secretary told that from next year liquefied natural gas (LNG) from US will start flowing to India -On Afghanistan - Mr. Trump welcomed "further Indian contributions to promote Afghanistan's democracy, stability, prosperity, and security".
- Recognizing the importance of their respective strategic partnerships with Afghanistan, the leaders committed to continue close consultations and cooperation in support of Afghanistan's future -On China - The statement recognized India and US as two "democratic stalwarts in the Indo- Pacific region"-a clear hint towards building a coalition of democratic countries against non- democratic forces (read China) in the region. - South China Sea: Joint statement "reiterates the importance of respecting freedom of navigation, overflight, and commerce throughout the region," a significant toning down of the language that possibly reflects Mr. Trump's current ties with Beijing.
India and the US have signed a MoU to collaborate in the fields of developmental activities and aid in third world countries. The MoU has been signed between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and Development Partnership Administration (DPA) of the Ministry of External Affairs of India On economic front The insertion of an entire section titled "Increasing Free and Fair Trade" is a veiled attempt at putting the Trump administration's concerns on bilateraltrade on the front burner for example, with references to "balancing the trade deficit", "protecting innovation", and "increasing market access" in areas where American industry has been most critical of Indian policy. The President's daughter will lead the U.S delegation to GlobalEntrepreneurship Summit (GES) later this year. GES is a key foreign policy initiative of former President Barack Obama to bring together global entrepreneurs and innovators, and India will be hosting its next edition. - -
Conclusion PM Modi and President Trump exceed the muted expectations for their first meeting. - Mentioning North Korea, West Asia and Afghanistan, the statement talks of a "growing strategic convergence" between the two countries and a shared vision on world affairs. - An emphasis on the need for Pakistan to stop attacks on India launched from its soil, and for China to forge its Belt and Road Initiative taking into account India's concerns on - territorial and sovereignty issues. - However, while the two leaders were able to establish a common understanding of global issues, the joint statement indicates that many bilateral issues are yet to be resolved.
DEFENCE RELATIONS - Recognising India's status as a Major Defence Partner,' the U.S. has made changes in its export control laws that will benefit India by facilitating smoother transfer of technologies and arms. Significance - It "institutionalises the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology-sharing with India to a level at par with that of the United States' closest allies and partners. The new rule "creates a presumption of approval" for Indian companies seeking to import Commerce Department-controlled military items, except Weapons of Mass Destruction- related goods. -This means that only under the rarest circumstances will India be denied licenses - The new rule also amends the law so that companies will not need a license at all after becoming a Validated End User (VEU).
Both sides reviewed the progress in defence ties in recent years, and welcomed the progress achieved under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) intended to promote opportunities for co production and co-development of weapon systems and platforms. - In the past two years, some major agreements were signed: -The Defence Framework Agreement in 2015, which laid a blueprint for collaboration between the defence establishments - The logistics support agreement Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA LEMOA is one of the four 'foundational agreements' that the U.S. enters into with its defence partners. With LEMOA, India has signed two of the four. The General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed in 2002. Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geospatial Intelligence are the two pending ones. No timeline has been set for discussing these. -
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