Strategic Collaboration

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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.

While India can play an important role in the region, it is being left behind economically and strategically. The strength of the bilateral strategic relationship provides the United States with a strong base of support to expand. U.S. leadership in the region can address China’s growing influence and could help mitigate the growing animosity between China and India.

India has express willingness to find common ground with small groupings of countries on like-minded issues. These vehicles can be harnessed where bilateral cooperation has stalled or India’s recalcitrance in the International multilaterals is counterproductive. The Japan-India-US-Australia group can be used to advance U.S. national security and commercial interests. The U.S. might also consider joining in the supply chain group of India-Singapore-Australia.
In addition to the national security strategic interests India has embraced the values of climate change and joint programs in addressing air pollution, water and other environmental issues can be accelerated, especially R&D programmatic elements. Cyber security and Internet governance present another opportunity with India recently expressing opposition to China’s New IP proposal, support for the multi stakeholder approach to Internet governance and a desire to see the UN Group of Government Experts make clear progress on cyber. India’s ambitions in 5G and their stated desire to secure trusted vendors provide another opportunity that melds with U.S. national security and commercial interests.
The 2+2 Strategic Dialogue is productive and can be expanded to include commercial issues of national security interest. The State-led ICT Working Group, an important engagement on technology and digital policy issues, has floundered as the dialogue has been downgraded to a deputy assistant secretary level. This group needs to be upgraded to a Dialogue held at least at an Assistant Secretary level, or as a best case at an Under Secretary level.
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