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.
In 2021, the economic and financial ties between the United States and India will 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, 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. To make the most of this strategic relationship, the incoming Biden administration will need to focus on three main priorities in the coming year.
The first priority lies in restoring regular bilateral engagement with senior Indian economic policymakers. An investment in regular meetings will allow for a deeper relationship that looks beyond short-term bilateral irritants and focuses on the larger, long-term shared interests. These regular meetings will lay the foundation for cooperation on issues of global financial stability, sustainable development, and regulation of the emerging digital economy. They would also renew the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership (EFP), which is key to addressing policy and regulatory issues in the insurance and banking sectors, taxation, capital markets, digital payments, and illicit finance, plus important economic challenges surrounding immigration, access to health care and education, and land and labor market reform.
A second priority lies in deepening the long-term financial ties between our countries. While the EFP and other bilateral engagements can focus on strengthening the investment climate, it will be US private investors who provide the long-term capital India needs to finance sustainable development and growth. The Indian government is already actively courting US investment through its $1.7 trillion National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) and quasi-sovereign National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). The Biden administration can respond by facilitating investor contacts, helping India strengthen its investment climate, and directing momentum toward investments in renewable energy and related infrastructure. These efforts could also address issues of supply chain resiliency as a component of sustainable investment across Asia.
A third priority relates to the challenges posed by rapid technological advances in finance, including regulation of digital financial data, “fintech” innovations in banking, insurance, and payments, secure online identity, and the evolution of digital fiat and cryptocurrencies. As the future of finance in the global economy depends on the secure and frictionless transfer of data across borders, finance officials in the US and India will need to work together to define a common cross-border standard. The symbolism of the United States and India cooperating on this difficult issue would be quite powerful, and the resulting standards would have important benefits for the financial industry, the global financial architecture, and national security.