Delhi, 09 July 2005
the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's official
visit to Washington, two think tanks, the Pacific
Council on International Policy (PCIP) of Los
Angeles and the cash rich Anil Ambanii Observer
Research Foundation (ORF) of New Delhi, with Gen V P
Malik in USA seen on TV with Pranab Mukherjee, have
jointly released a report on "India–US
Relations: A Vision For The Future".
This has been augmented by the Carnegie Institute
report authored by Ashley Tellis and publicised in
the Outlook magazine. There is a pull by NRIs
in USA some 2.5 million with disposal income of over
$100 billion to pull India to the American fold of
‘make money and enjoy life’. However there is
confusion at home. Brinda Karat became a Communist
MP in the Rajya Sabha and her first act was to ask
the Government to bin the India–US Defence
CPM are up in arms over BHEL disinvestments and the
Shiv Sena rebels are hobnobbing with the NCP and
some will meet Sharad Pawar in London. That’s the
new India for you.
deal of work no doubt has gone into the
preparation of the joint report, and India is back
to basics in economics. Does it want to embrace
capitalism all the way and also become the policeman
in the Indian Ocean and take China head on as USA's
ally in the years ahead, or try a middle path and
settle its own backyard with Pakistan, Bangla Desh,
Nepal and Sri Lanka? Only two people can answer
this question and the first is Nehru's grandson's
wife Sonia Gandhi the more powerful node in India
and the economic node the Prime Minister of India Dr
Manmohan Singh who went back to Oxford and recounted
his old days in Nuffield College there. China is
watching and Russia may be a spent force with less
GDP than India’s but it is not yet down and out.
quote from the preface of the report is given below
as NRIs have gained a lot by interest investments in
FCNRs in India and real estate dealings and now they
are set to gain more by way of dual passports and
may be that is the way to go –– forget the poor,
forget the neighbourhood, forget health and
nutrition of the masses but get rich and mighty and
then attend to issues. However, the report does contain
a few incorrect and/or outdated assertions, for
would appear that India needs the United States more
than the United States needs India. For the United
States, good relations with India are desirable but
not essential, whereas they remain essential for
Relations: A Vision For The Future
Force Members include Ambassador Abid Hussain, RK
Mishra, VP Malik, Amitabh Mattoo,
SD Muni, Amitav Malik and S Narayan.
key members of PCIP task force were Ambassdor
Richard F Celeste, Ashley Tellis, Rafiq Dossani,
Mira Kamdar, Ian Lesser and Daniel Snieder.
DECADES OF regarding each other with wary suspicion,
India and the United States have moved rapidly from
uneasy cooperation to incipient partnership. This
welcome evolution has profound implications for
has brought about this shift? This is not a question
for historians alone. The answer should guide not
only the understanding of the past but policies for
source of this change is geopolitics. The end of the
Cold War removed the issue of India’s relationship
with the Soviet Union and lessened the US reliance
on Pakistan as an anti-Soviet ally. Americans came
to see India as a strong regional power that could
help to maintain stability and balance in a
turbulent world. The September 11 terrorist attacks
created a sense of common threat that unites
strategists in both India and the United States.
progress towards partnership can be traced in the
increasing frequency of high-level interaction
between leaders of both countries. The visit of
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to the US in
1999, when he described the two countries as
“natural allies” was followed the next year by
President Bill Clinton’s trip to India, the first
by a US president in 22 years. This was a watershed
in the Indo-US relations and that pace has continued
during the Bush administration, hopefully to include
a visit by President Bush to India.
does not mean that India and the United States will
not continue to have differences in their strategic
views. For example, US relationship with Pakistan
remains a source of concern and divergence. But the
dynamic of partnership, regardless of who holds
power in either country, remains strong.
focus exclusively on geopolitics and security,
however, misses the underlying driving force behind
this voyage of rediscovery—economic and cultural
globalization. The shift began with the decision of
India in 1991 to end its long policy of import
substitution and industrial protection and to open
its economy for global competition. This led India
to jettison its economic policies and generate
confidence in its ability to compete. It also
encouraged American businessmen, who had largely
ignored India, to view the world’s second most
populous nation as a land of opportunity.
profound redirection coincided with the Information
Technology revolution in the 1990s. India, drawing
upon its long-standing investment in higher
education and science, created a globally
competitive software industry. Breakthroughs in
telecommunications and the digital transmission of
data radically lessened the barrier of geographic
distance for many facets of commercial transactions.
That revolution diffused power away from
governments, empowering individuals and civil
the IT revolution underway in the United States was
fueled in part by a
of immigration into the US by Indian engineers and
entrepreneurs who became a key part of the economy
and culture of Silicon Valley. These entrepreneurs
in turn encouraged their American counterparts to
seek new opportunities in India. An affluent and
increasingly influential Indian diaspora emerged in
the US, creating new bonds between the two
exchange has grown alongside economic and
technological interactions. As India’s youth
become globalized, it has shown a growing appetite
for popular culture, much of it from the United
States. And Indian cultural exports, from food and
fashion to cinema, are finding a growing reception
in the American marketplace.
these breakthroughs have combined to drive a
profound transformation of perceptions in both
countries. Until the late 1990s, the average
American thought of India rarely, if at all. For the
vast majority of Americans, India was associated
with poverty or by orientalized images of
maharajahs, palaces and elephants, nostalgic
pictures from the British Raj. Images of the United
States as a set of Hollywood clichés—violent,
wealthy and arrogant—were common in India.
stereotypical images, particularly of India in the
United States, are giving way. In the mind of the
average American, India is now just as likely today
to be associated with technological innovation as
with grinding poverty, with hip fashion as with
tigers and elephants, with the latest movie
sensation as with sitar concerts.
most telling sign of the shift in US perception is
that India is now often referred to in American
business conferences in the same breath with China.
The two countries are paired as a common phenomenon,
rising global economic powers that will dominate the
future of this century.
change is even more evident on the West Coast of the
United States, in places such as Silicon Valley, Los
Angeles and Seattle. The economy of this region is
more tightly tied to Asia and the Pacific. The
regional economy is more dependent on high
technology, global culture such as the film industry
and international trade. And in the Pacific West,
the cultural impact of India and the growing
presence of the Indian American community are more
strongly felt than in much of the United States.
of course, is not free from controversy in either
country, controversy that plays out in the context
of two vibrant democracies. In both cases, the
interaction of the global economy brings not only
benefits but also some painful changes. In the
United States, the outsourcing of employment in the
service sector to Indian software houses and call
centers has triggered deep anxiety. There are
growing concerns that the jobs that have been lost
and will not, as has been true in the past, be
replaced by new jobs. Outsourcing made India—for
the first time in American history—an issue in the
2004 presidential election.
India, the stunning results of the 2004
parliamentary elections also reflected the uneven
results of India’s entry into the global economy.
Rapid growth has
the urban middle class far more than the rural poor.
The gleaming shopping malls outside Delhi have not
changed the lives of pavement dwellers or farmers.
Indian voters demonstrated a “revolution of rising
expectations” caused by India’s entry into the
global market. All classes in India want the
government to move faster but also to do a better
job of distributing the gains of economic
these difficulties, there can be no retreat from the
intertwining of India and the United States. Indeed,
steps must be taken to accelerate the momentum
a transformation whose benefits flow both ways.
Although the actions of governments are important,
much of this change will necessarily remain in the
of non-governmental actors, from the business
community, to educators and cultural institutions.
differences will certainly occur. But strengthened
economic and cultural ties will enable both nations
to ride over those differences with lesser bumps.
There are steps that both governments can take to
ensure that the inherent dynamism of the
relationship realizes its full potential.
this basis, a bilateral task force convened by the
Pacific Council on International Policy and
India’s Observer Research Foundation met over the
past year to consider how to strengthen ties between
India and the United States. This is the first such
policy study carried out on a bilateral basis, with
experts from both countries joined in common
deliberation. Reflecting its origins in the Western
US, the Pacific Council brought both a clear
orientation toward Asia and an emphasis
the economic and cultural dimension of the Indo-US
recommendations of this task force are aimed at:
barriers to strategic cooperation, particularly
in the area of technology development.
commerce between India and the United States.
cooperation in science and technology.
cooperation in healthcare and education.
new constituencies through culture and the
Indian diaspora to deepen mutual understanding.
reflect our understanding that progress in both
countries rests on expanding the free flow of trade
and ideas. We have to mobilize the energies of free
people, ensuring a dynamic relationship between
private initiative and the management of public
affairs in both countries.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE PCIP –– ORF JOINT
BILATERAL TASK FORCE
ENHANCING STRATEGIC COOPERATION
the Indian nuclear tests in 1998, the United States
and India have worked to overcome the restrictions
on scientific and technological cooperation imposed
by non-proliferation concerns. The Clinton
administration began that process. It has
accelerated during the Bush administration beginning
with the lifting of sanctions imposed after the
signing of the Next Steps in the Strategic
Partnership (NSSP) in 2004 was a major move ahead.
The NSSP aims at facilitating cooperation in
civilian nuclear energy, space programs, high
technology trade and a dialogue on missile defense.
But while the aims are correct, the NSSP has failed
to yield sufficient progress, particularly in areas
such as nuclear energy cooperation. Restrictions on
India’s access to advanced technology—creating
potential new markets for American industry—still
remain trapped in the past. India is treated more
restrictively, for example, than China.
the joint task force believes that this cannot be
fully resolved without accepting India’s status as
a full-fledged nuclear power. With that end in mind,
the task force recommends that both governments:
India’s bid to join the Security Council of
the United Nations as a permanent member.
India with access to civilian nuclear technology
in exchange for putting newly built reactors
under IAEA safeguards.
India to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group and
the Missile Technology Control Regime and take
steps to modernize Indian export control
a high level dialogue to remove India’s
reservations in joining the core group of the
Proliferation Security Initiative.
India from the sensitive countries list
governing the control of exports of strategic
technology from the United States. What is
permissible for China should not be denied to
areas of technological cooperation under the
Next Steps in Strategic Partnership between
India and the United States.
a solid and comprehensive US-India strategic
full text please log on to http://www.usindiafriendship.net/
This was compressed into a shorter article published
in THE WASHINGTON TIMES on February 9, 2005 -- see http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20050209-075842-1522r.htm