PM Modi and President Obama had visited each other’s country in a gap of just six months reiterating their shared vision of ‘Forward together we go‘. The relationship is poised to reach its potential of becoming the defining partnership of the 21st century.
The long term prospects of Indo-US ties are quite promising with the confluence of strategic, economic and geo-political interests and values of each other. In short term, factors that would shape and drive forward the ties needs to be identified and focused upon in the next five years.
- At people’s level, there exists a mutual respect for each other’s culture. American ideas, inventions, music, films & fashion have wide influence over Indian way of life and thought. In the past, Indian culture had a low profile in US. Now there is a greater appreciation for Indian culture, cuisine & Bollywood in US. For example, according to a 2012 study, more than 20 million US adults practice Yoga!
- Last year, India sent the cheapest inter-planetary mission ever, ‘Mangalyaan’, with the help from NASA’s deep space communication network. It costed just 11% of the USA’s own Mars mission ‘Maven’. This shows, that there exists a synergy between the technological superiority of NASA and the frugal engineering and scientific capabilities of ISRO. Such mutually beneficial collaborations between India and US could be found in other S&T domains as well, which if pursued will benefit the common man of both the countries.
- The warnings of climate change scientists are growing darker with each passing year. As the 1st and 3rd largest polluters in the world, USA and India need to arrive at a mutually acceptable, legally binding and an universal agreement on climate change at the 2015 Paris conference. Going forward, this short term factor could have global consequences.
- The highly successful Indian Diaspora has been a major factor in Indo-US ties. With the growing contributions from Indian-Americans to the American economy and its society, India’s profile and attitude of American people towards Indians has drastically changed. Indian-Americans can no longer be stereotyped into only some professions, they have diversified into various fields and are now visible in the entertainment industry, politics, bureaucracy etc
- Bipartisan support from both Republican and Democratic parties for better relations with India and similar support for USA among major political parties in India is going to be another crucial factor in strengthening the ties.
- Present bilateral trade between India and USA is just $100 billion which is far below the potential. In the next five years efforts needs to be made to increase it to $500 billion.
- Being sensitive to each other’s security concerns and having a clear understanding of each other’s position on various geo-political issues would increase trust. This needs to be followed by intelligence sharing, joint military drills & co-development of weapon systems. They should act like true partners by consulting each other before taking major geo-political decisions.
- Apart from these positive factors, the various speed bumps in the relation like the nuclear liability issue and the concerns over immigration bill need to be smoothed over.
As Gandhiji said, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.” Heeding the words of Mahatma, India and US need to move forward together, leading the world towards a better future.
Source for featured photo