Modi in Washington: A symbolic visit for a substantive partnership.
Officials from the United States and India
occasionally have some difficult private conversations about Ukraine and India’s domestic politics. visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to United States of America this week official state . will mainly be about showcasing the strength of the two countries’ burgeoning partnership. For More Information…
Modi and President Joe Biden both need the optics of a visit rich in symbolism to demonstrate the substantive achievements of a relationship based on shared concerns about China and multi-billion dollar deals in technology and defense. Modi wants to highlight his standing as a world leader ahead of the 2024 Indian election. Biden wants to underline that, contrary to the criticism of some, he does have a plan to deal with China’s rise and the U.S. has lined up partners and allies to execute that plan.
Indian prime ministers often go to the nation’s capital. since India’s independence in 1947. But Modi’s visit is only the third time an Indian prime minister will be given official state visit protocol, including a state banquet at the White House on June 22.
A joint session of Congress was addressed by the fifth Indian prime minister. Modi will be the first Indian president to accomplish it twice. Indians will be thrilled by the attention given to their prime minister, and the speeches about shared values and similar strategic vision of the world’s oldest and largest democracies will play well in the Indian media.
But the visit will not be about just pomp and show. Trade in goods and services occurs among the US and India. reached $190 billion last year and the U.S. is now India’s largest trading partner. Companies from the two countries have made significant investments across borders and Indian and American enjoy close people-to-people ties.
Moreover, the U.S.
is keen to “friendshore” with India to deal with the threat America sees in China’s rise, and to ensure supply-chain resilience. This involves shifting the manufacturing of certain critical components from China to friendly countries, especially India. The U.S. is funding Indian technology startups and infrastructure projects from its $200 billion Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) Fund.
India, as the world’s most populous country, represents a large potential market for U.S. companies currently reducing their Chinese presence. When Air India, India’s largest airline, decided to purchase 220 Boeing aircraft in a $34 billion deal, Biden celebrated, saying it “will support over 1 million American jobs across 44 states, and many will not require a four-year college degree.” U.S. aerospace and military industries have wanted a greater share of the Indian market for years.
This January India and the U.S. announced the launch of the U.S.-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to the pave the way for “technology value-chain partnerships that would lead to co-development and co-production of high technology products and services in both countries,” in the words of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
During a recent visit to Delhi by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin a defense industrial roadmap was unveiled, reflecting an American willingness to share state of the art technology with India. But India wants to build an indigenous defense industry and is keen on American technology and investment, while the U.S. wants India to stop purchasing military equipment from Russia and buy more from the United States. Historically, that divergence has resulted in announcements that have not always resulted in implementation.
For the Modi visit,
the two sides have planned two key defense related deliverables: the purchase by India of 30 General Atomics-manufactured Predator or MQ9B Sea Guardian drones for $3 billion, and an agreement between General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to coproduce GE-F414 turbofan engines for India’s indigenous Tejas Mark-2 fighter jet.
India and the U.S. have a long way to go before reaching the 500 billion dollars mark in bilateral trade which experts see as the future potential of the trade relationship. Americans blame India’s default preference for protectionism, reluctance to offer a level playing field to domestic and foreign players, strict digital privacy rules, and historical skepticism towards free and open trade. Indians complain that America is used to allies who are junior partners, not a country that is not an ally and wants to be treated as an equal. India is not alone in that view in an era when several powers want recognition and are showing a preference for economic and technology partnerships, rather than military alliances.
The United States does not have a treaty based alliance with India but it is a partner that values its strategic independence and has grievances against the way the United States has handled it. officials in the past. The closest equivalent of that in U.S. experience from the Cold War era would be France under the Gaullists. But just as the U.S. overcame its reservations about real or perceived French prickliness in the interest of preserving the Atlantic Alliance, Americans realize the importance of India in their plans for maintaining a rules-based international order.