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India-US relation: Defining relationships of 21st century?

Oct 6, 2014 12:20 IST

Recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his Visit to US on high note. During the visit, the Prime minister signed various agreements ranging from climate change and regional security to Economic investment.

Both the countries issued vision statement titled Chalein Saath-Saath: Forward Together We Go to boost strategic ties.

The vision statement envisioned to develop a relationship model for the world. However, so far the relationship between the two nations failed to live up to the Joint Declaration issued in 2010.

The joint declaration was signed by the then prime minister of India Manmohan Singh during his visit to US. The president of US described the relationship as a defining relationship of the 21st century.  

In the lieu of the past incidents, it is genuine to ask that whether the relationship of India-US can really be termed as defining relationship?

In 2011, when President Obama visited India, he supported India's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council and signed trade deals worth 15 billion US dollar.

But, the relationship got affected when his administration moved a resolution to curb US H1B visas and outsourcing of jobs to the developing world, particularly India. The move did not go down well with the IT industry.

The ties also sustained a hit in the aftermath of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's arrest on maid exploitation charges. Though a favourable resolution of the row helped put the dark chapter behind, another roadblock emerged in the form of US spying scandal, but the same had little impact on bilateral relations.

Meanwhile, a major issue emerged on Intellectual property rights (IPR) when the US Trade Representative’s (USTR’s) released its special 301 report in May 2014.

All US industry related witnesses in their Special 301 submissions demanded designation of India as a Priority Foreign Country.

Special 301 is a trade and industry practices report that identified intellectual property rights offenders that could face trade sanctions and other countries whose IPR regimes are deemed to be an area of lesser concern.

From the above, it can be discerned that the bilateral relationship though is the need of the time. However, it seems that domestic priorities and strategic interests in both the nations have defined the relationships from time to time. So, it would be pre-mature to assume that India-US relationship would become the defining relationship of the 21st century.

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