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U.S. Ties with India ‘Positive and Upbeat’, Say Lawmakers

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the plenary session of the 7th East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 20. President Obama told Prime Minister Singh in Cambodia that India is “a big part of my plans.” (PIB photo)
  • WASHINGTON, D.C., United States

    Indications from the American administration on ties with India are "positive and upbeat,” top American experts and lawmakers have said, days after President Barack Obama outlined that the country was a "big part" of plans in his second innings.

    At the same time, the experts, policy makers and lawmakers, known for keeping a tab on the India-U.S. relationship, believe that the two countries would continue to have differences on key economic issues, even as they strengthen their relationship in strategic, national security and defense ties.

    "Early indications about what the next four years have in store for U.S.-India relations are positive and upbeat," former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl F. Inderfurth told PTI.

    Currently senior adviser and Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a top American think-tank, Inderfurth was quick to refer to the remarks given by the National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon last week in which he said that the United States has "given a full embrace" to India's rise and "a full embrace" of its rise as a partner.

    "That's good, because there will be much to do," Inderfurth said.

    "Obama's second term agenda with India will be vital to both, including a further deepening of trade and commercial ties (both countries need to get their economies growing), ensuring a stable future for Afghanistan and its immediate neighborhood, and collaborating on critical issues ranging from dealing with Iran and its nuclear ambitions to encouraging the rise of a peaceful China," he said.

    "In all these areas India will be, as President Obama told Prime Minister Singh in Cambodia: ‘a big part of my plans'," Inderfurth said.

    Upbeat about the prospects of the India-U.S. relationship, Senator Mark Warner said that the past year saw continued growth in many sectors, especially defense trade where the efforts of Ashton Carter, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, are paying off.

    "Boeing is negotiating a $1.7 billion deal for helicopters, and that's in addition to India's $4 billion purchase of C-17 airlifters," Warner pointed out. 

    "I also think the recent Indian economic reforms will help improve the climate for foreign direct investment, and I hope we can use that as a catalyst to provide some momentum for a Bilateral Investment Treaty," Warner, the co-chair of the India Caucus in the Senate, told PTI.

    Congressman Joe Crowley, who serves as co-chair of the House Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said that the links that bond the United States and India are stronger than ever.

    "Our countries have many similarities, none more important than our shared value of democracy. Democracy is what has made our economies strong, our governments strong, and our people strong," he said.

    "There is no question that President Obama sees what I see when it comes to the U.S.-India relations: India is one of our strongest partners and it is critical that we continue to build upon that partnership," Crowley told PTI.

    "There are a myriad of areas to focus our attention on, including promoting exports and encouraging investments, addressing poverty, and working together to ensure our world is a safer, more peaceful place for all. I look forward to continuing on these and other issues in the months ahead," he said in response to a question.

    American expert on India Lisa Curtis, from the Heritage Foundation, felt that the new Obama administration has a window of opportunity to advance the U.S.-India relationship next year before India begins to gear up for national elections scheduled for early 2014.


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