The collaboration between the United States and India lie at the heart of our strategic interests in Asia. India has the sixth largest economy in the world in nominal terms and nearly one-fifth of the global population, with a long tradition of entrepreneurialism and democratic governance. India is already an important market for US goods and services and has the potential to become a crucial link in the global manufacturing supply chain.
While the fundamentals of this relationship are strong, below are some priorities to strengthen this partnership further in the coming year.
Through these priorities we see tremendous opportunity to deepen the US-India relationship, to the mutual benefit of both countries.
Two key trends have continued to define US-India defense relations for the past 15 years: increasing strategic alignment, especially with regard to China and defending a free and open Indo Pacific; and steadily increased defense cooperation, to include defense trade, military exercises and technology partnerships.
The dramatic escalation of tensions between India and China in 2020 creates an unprecedented moment of convergence in the first area. The signing of the Major Defense Partnership framework at the end of the Obama Administration and conclusion of four long- pending defense agreements on logistics, communications, industrial security and geospatial intelligence under the outgoing Trump administration set the stage for more ambitious cooperation.
The major challenges are budget constraints in the wake of COVID; differences in US and Indian approaches to the region, especially to Afghanistan and Pakistan; and how the new U.S. administration manages concerns about India’s human rights record. Some top priorities for the Biden administration in its strategic alignment with India will include: