7th June 2018
Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.
Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.
Q1. Indian relations with America have been strained recently because of various economic and international reasons. Discuss.
- The divergence seen in India-U.S relations is a result of many reasons. There has been a shift in New Delhi’s position over the past year. A year ago, the Indian government seemed clear in its intention to counter China’s growing clout in its neighbourhood, especially post-Doklam, challenge the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and back a Quadrilateral grouping of India, the U.S., Japan and Australia to maintain an open Indo-Pacific. Today, the Doklam issue has been buried, the BRI isn’t as much a concern as before, and the government’s non-confrontational attitude to the Maldives and Nepal indicates a softened policy on China in the neighbourhood. Meanwhile, there is a closer engagement with Chinese President Xi Jinping and a relationship reset with China after the Wuhan meeting.
- The Quad formation, which is holding its second official meeting today in Singapore, has also been given short shrift. India rejected an Australian request to join maritime exercises along with the U.S. and Japan. Contrast this with India’s acceptance of military exercises with countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO.
- Trade protectionism is clearly the other big point of divergence between India and the U.S., which have in recent months taken each other to the World Trade Organisation on several issues. There has been a surge in disputes between the two countries: on the new American steel and aluminium tariffs, the proposed cuts in H1B professional visas and cancellation of H4 spouse visas, on India’s tariffs and resistance to U.S. exports of dairy and pork products, on Indian price reductions on medical devices, and Reserve Bank of India rules on data localisation on Indian servers for U.S. companies.
- The row over Harley-Davidson motorcycles is a case in point, where what should have been a small chink in the relationship has ended up denting the discourse quite seriously.
- The biggest challenges to a common India-U.S. vision are now emerging from the new U.S. law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal with the threat of more secondary sanctions. Both actions have a direct impact on India, given its high dependence on defence hardware from Russia and its considerable energy interests in Iran. In particular, India’s plans to acquire the Russian S-400 missile system will become the litmus test of whether India and the U.S. can resolve their differences.
- It is equally clear that the India-U.S. equation isn’t balancing out quite the way it did last year, when Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump first announced the idea of the “2+2” dialogue.