Since India’s economic reforms of 1991, the country has emerged as an economic behemoth, a South Asian tiger and this has helped forge a close economic partnership with US.
The U.S.-India relationship has been dubbed as the most important strategic partnership of the 21st century. India’s economic reforms of 1991 and its emergence as South Asian tiger has helped forge closer economic partnership between our two countries.
By Mukesh Aghi
75 years is a milestone, a monumental one indeed.
This August, we celebrate India’s 75 years of independence, but simultaneously celebrate 75 years of relations between the United States and India.
The US-India relationship has been dubbed as the most important strategic partnership of the 21st century. I have witnessed how the relationship has moved beyond symbolic platitudes between the world’s oldest and largest democracy to robust engagements across trade, defence, climate and technology.
Our political relations may be long, but our economic synergy has been comparatively a shorter story. Since India’s economic reforms of 1991, the country has emerged as an economic behemoth, a South Asian tiger and this has helped forge a close economic partnership between our two countries. From my years in the private sector, particularly the technology sector, I have witnessed how American enterprises have leveraged India’s skilled workforce and burgeoning economic growth and tapped into the Indian market.
In a short period, the bilateral trade between India and the U.S. has crossed the $100 billion mark in 2021. According to official figures, the overall US-India bilateral trade in goods and services reached a record $157 billion, a drastic increase from the 2020 trade figures.
The economic importance of this relationship is well evinced. Washington’s trade with its top 15 partners has increased over the past year; the single biggest jump was with New Delhi in 2021, making India the eighth largest trading partner for the US. The Honorable Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal at our Annual Leadership Summit has spoken about a milestone target of a trillion dollars in bilateral trade by the year 2030. For India, to achieve its target of a $ 5 trillion economy, the lion’s share of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) will need to come from the world’s largest economy.
Our shared objectives, values, and vision lie in securing a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, adhering to a rules-based international order, and maintaining international security while upholding freedom of navigation. Furthermore, our joint-military engagement along with our Quad partners demonstrates the comprehensive strategic partnership, as we seek to align the Quad to work towards helping regions in the Indo-Pacific address the pernicious threat of climate change, vaccine delivery, and work to secure critical and emerging technologies.
In the Middle East, our mini-lateral cooperation in I2U2, along with Israel and the United Arab Emirates has prioritized our regional interests in the region in cyberspace, food, and energy security, as the conflict in Europe has highlighted the near-term shortcomings.
As we look towards a post-pandemic recovery, we are cognizant of how the pandemic has cost lives and wreaked economic havoc in our two countries. And yet in the new era of social distancing, our two countries have come closer in our vaccine cooperation as we seek to leverage India’s pharmaceutical manufacturing prowess and American logistics to ensure the delivery of safe and cost-affordable vaccines to countries in need.
Our goal is forward-looking and for posterity’s sake, the Quad fellowship seeks to nurture the next generation of scientists as we prioritize education through shared values. The relationship has had its ebbs and flows through the first fifty years to the now robust edifice of strong diplomatic ties that it now rests on.
This relationship is much bigger than government-to-government relations. Its strength lies in the partnership between two kindred spirits. What makes this partnership truly special is an unwavering commitment to democratic values and a mutual affinity that the people share for each other. The story is one of the shared democratic values, codified in both constitutions but above all the power of the populace and hence we believe that the real catalyst to this strategic partnership is the story of the Diaspora, who have helped fructify this colossal partnership of 75 years.
While we look back and celebrate the past 75 years, I am excited about what the future holds for our two economies as we work together to build stronger bonds, strengthen commercial ties, and tackle challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
So, this August, on behalf of everyone at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), I wish all my fellow Indian citizens and the diaspora across the world, a very Happy Independence Day.
The author is the CEO & President of US- India Strategic Partnership Forum