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Turning Words into Action

Turning Words into Action

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Rich Verma and Michael Werz review why India is an important ally to the United States, which issues the countries will focus on at their upcoming summit and where they can make headway, and why there’s reason to be optimistic about the relationship going forward.
Rich Verma and Michael Werz review why India is an important ally to the United States, which issues the countries will focus on at their upcoming summit and where they can make headway, and why there’s reason to be optimistic about the relationship going forward.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Jun 08, 2012
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1Center or American Progress |  Turning Words into Action
 Turning Words into Action
Next Steps in the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership
A strategic bet
Early on, he Obama adminisraion made a calculaed be on India. Te world’s oldesand larges democracies were o become major rading parners, wih India opening ismarkes o U.S. invesors. In addiion, boh naions pledged o orge srong securiy iesand join orces in batling erroris elemens, wih India playing a criical role as an emerg-ing regional power. I was no mere coincidence ha he rs Sae Dinner Presiden Barack Obama hosed was in honor o Indian Prime Miniser Manmohan Singh.Tree years laer some criics conend neiher Presiden Obama nor Prime MiniserSingh have much o show or all heir good inenions. Criics in he Unied Saes poino a sagnan and closed Indian economic sysem ha has kep U.S. business on he side-lines. Tey poin o a los gher je conrac, salled economic reorms, ailure o moveon he promised liabiliy proecion or he U.S. nuclear indusry, and a counerproduc-ive relaionship India coninues o mainain wih Iran.Similarly, in India skepics cie he ailure o reorm he U.S. expor conrol sysem, sagnannegoiaions on a bilaeral invesmen reay, he imposiion o unilaeral sancions argeingIndia’s cenral bank, and he mouning diculies conroning Indians seeking work andouris visas in he Unied Saes as evidence ha he relaionship is no advancing.Given his narraive, despair and handwringing would be appropriae. Tis narraive,however, ells only par o he sory and presens an unduly pessimisic picure—paricu-larly i one akes ino accoun he many areas where cooperaion has grown and where he vas nework o U.S.-Indian connecions has become deeper and sronger. India is, in ac, becoming he “indispensable U.S. ally” Presiden Obama spoke o nearly hree years ago.Te hird annual U.S.-India Sraegic Dialogue, scheduled or June 13, oers an oppor-uniy or he counries o make progress on a number o issues and srenghen heiries. Ahead o his summi we review why India is an imporan ally o he Unied Saes, which issues he counries will ocus on a he summi and where hey can make head- way, and why here’s reason o be opimisic abou he relaionship going orward.
 
2Center or American Progress |  Turning Words into Action
Why India is important for the United States
India has he world’s second larges populaion (jus behind China), and i ranks 11hin he world in nominal gross domesic produc.
1
Te counry has emerged as a majoreconomic player, enjoying impressive economic growh or hree decades, and now consiues 5 percen o he global economy.
2
 More han a decade ino he 21s cenury, Indias increasing inuence can be el hrough-ou Asia and beyond, no only because o is economic growh raes, bu also becauseo he experiences he world’s larges democracy can convey o developing naions. Tecounry is already adoping an imporan posiion in several global areas, such as inerna-ional climae negoiaions, and as one o he main players in he BRIC—Brazil, Russia,India, and China—group o emerging counries in erms o economic developmen.Over he pas decade India has also expanded is role in mulilaeral insiuions. I helpedlaunch he G-20 Group o Developing Counries wih Brazil and Souh Arica in 2003,and i has been an acive (hough someimes dicul) paricipan in he World radeOrganizaions Doha Round o rade negoiaions and he Major Economies Forum. Ye India aces domesic challenges ha have he poenial o hinder is uure growhprospecs and long-erm developmen. Over 40 percen o India’s vas populaion alls below he inernaional povery line and one-hird o is ciizens are under he age o 15.
3
 Indias economic growh projecions have recenly been revised sharply downward, call-ing ino quesion is abiliy o lif millions ou o povery and ino he middle class.Presiden Obama’s rip o India in Ocober 2011 underlined he Unied Saes’ visiono India as an imporan sakeholder and parner in inernaional aairs wih whichi shares imporan values, such as a commimen o democracy, equiable growh,and engagemen in regional sabiliy. Te Obama adminisraion, as well as he Bushadminisraion beore i, made he calculaion ha i was very much in he ineres o he Unied Saes o srenghen ies wih India as New Delhi seeks o asser more o isleadership in he world. Te U.S.-India Sraegic Dialogue is one way o achieve his.o urher develop he U.S.-India parnership in years o come, a nuanced undersand-ing o India’s domesic challenges will be criical o crafing U.S. policy oward India. TeUnied Saes also needs o ake ino accoun he complex regional issues ha impacIndias growh, among hem an implici compeiion wih China and insabiliy romPakisan o Nepal.
 
3Center or American Progress |  Turning Words into Action
Framing the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue
Te Sraegic Dialogue and is subworking groups ackle a broad range o issues ineducaion,energy, science and echnology, economics and rade, healh, agriculure, anddeense. Te rs ocial dialogue ook place in Washingon in 2010, and he secondoccurred in Delhi in 2011.In addiion o he core economic and securiy issues, he 2011 dialogue addressedcybersecuriy, aviaion and mariime saey, counernarcoics, humaniarian assisance, womens empowermen, space cooperaion, clean energy, and he expansion o sudenexchanges. Key inergovernmenal working groups relaed o educaion, energy, home-land securiy, and counererrorism cooperaion are ongoing and have se ambiiousschedules or he coming year.Te upcoming 2012 Sraegic Dialogue also has many iems on is agenda. While he 2010dialogue ocused on 10 key areas, he 2012 dialogue is expeced o cover some 20 dierenopics. Te expansion o opics is an indicaor o boh he complexiy o he relaionship as well as he growing lis o unresolved issues ha exis beween he wo counries.In preparaion or he dialogue, a number o U.S. and Indian ocials have been shutling back and orh over he las several monhs o nalize he agenda, including Secreary o Sae Hillary Clinon, who visied New Delhi and Kolkaa las monh, and Secreary o Deense Leon Paneta, who raveled o India his week.In addiion o ollowing up on he bilaeral issues ha were discussed in he pas wo years, here are a number o consequenial issues simmering. Tese include:
Defense and security
•
Afghanistan
—managing he ransiion afer he redeploymen o U.S. and inerna-ional roops in 2014 and dening India’s role in his process
•
Asia pivot
—crysallizing India’s leadership role in Asia as he Unied Saes rebalancesis sraegic ooprin in and commimen o Asia
•
Export control reform
—examining wha, i anyhing, can be done o eliminae orsofen some o he more sringen conrols in he U.S. expor o dual-use and deenseiems o India
•
Iran
—locking in India’s commimen o purchase less Iranian oil and ormally oeringIndia an exempion rom ough U.S. unilaeral banking-relaed sancions designed opunish he imporers o Iranian crude

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