The Step in Strategic Partnership (NSSP). Perhaps, no other

The US-India
relations have taken a great leap forward from the days of PL-480 to the Next
Step in Strategic Partnership (NSSP).  Perhaps, no other bilateral relationship for
India has undergone such a transformative alteration in the last six decades.  The US-India partnership has moved away from
the narratives of ‘estranged democracies’ towards the ‘recent establishment of hotline
between the two countries’. Indeed the removal of the nuclear irritant has
transcended American perceptions of India- from a country associated with
‘proliferation crises into becoming a ‘non-proliferation promise’.
This improved bilateralism can be attributed to various  reasons mainly, the recent polycentrism in the
global order, the changing geopolitics in the South Asian region, India’s rise
to power- economically/militarily, and the increased interconnectedness between
both the countries. All this would have been impossible, had both the countries
not taken cognizance of each other’s shared strategic interests and values.

 

      While today the relations stand at
juncture of inevitable continuity mainly because of the extent of their
collaboration as  there seems to be no
looking back in the current dynamics of the bilateral relations however, those
who observe the US-India relations closely had foreseen, that under the Trump
Presidency the US-India relations would be affected in four ways , mainly-
trade/investment, immigration, technological cooperation, issues of global
governance.  US
being India, significant partner in last one 1.5 decade; synergy on these
issues between the two players is considered as significant, especially from
the Indian perspective, at the same time it was also viewed that relations in
the ‘aftermath
of Trump’s election’ combined with other international
variables, ‘will
become more difficult to forecast’.

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While it was
largely viewed that US-India relations shared similar strategic views in two
different Administrations in the last 16 years, this time around perceptions
seemed to be differing when President Trump’s stance on issues such as Climate
Change, Immigration etc. came to forefront. Indeed suspicion raised on the
chemistry that the US-India came to share in all these years. The air of
uncertainty about the relations however stands questioned as the US-India
bilateral partnership was able to show the signs of synergy in first one year
of Trump Presidency, especially in terms of signing of key defense deals,
energy deals including the operationalization of transfer of liquefied natural
gas to India, combatting terrorism etc. In the last one year two significant
‘for the first time’ were witnessed in the US-India partnership- such as a US President
openly aligning to the Indian position to identify robustly the treat emanating
from Pakistan- implying not just rhetoric but also action by announcing to
suspend least
$900 million in security assistance to Pakistan, especially focusing on the
Haqqani network militant group. Additionally, the scope
of the bilateral partnership further expanded to the Indo-Pacific by discussing
security challenges pertaining
to sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

However, very recently
three issues such as the Indian Vote on Jerusalem, India’s refusal to shut the
North Korean Embassy in New Delhi and the US announcement of getting tougher on
the Visa laws reflected developments that were outside of the generic upward
trend in the US-India relations. It is noteworthy to make sense of what do
these developments mean for the bilateral partnership.  One can argue that the US-India relations can
be said to entering in a phase of objectivity, wherein each one of them is able
to perceive each other more practically. One can view a clear dichotomy of ‘interests based convergences’ and ‘foreign policy values’ in the US-India
relations. Despite the low expectations and high uncertainty, the bilateral
relations seem to be on an auto pilot mode where sustenance of the partnership
is preferred.

 

In
ambassador Juster’s words India
and the US can both pursue their respective national interests, disagree (ed)
from time to time but at the same time 
but as friends accept each other , work through disagreements and move
forward without animosity. 

 

 

Conclusion

 While the  relations as of today stand solid-  one observation can be made as a point of
caution with respect to the  – a point or
two on caution in the US-India relations, especially on what kind of narrative
it will raise that might question the ‘autonomy’ in the Indian Foreign Policy Because,
the scope of US-India interaction touches almost all the significant areas in
international relations- ranging from international-internal security, economy,
countering non-traditional threats, encompassing areas such as defence, trade,
science-technology, nuclear energy, multilateral export control regimes,  space, health, agriculture, education that
many experts have questioned its wisdom and labeled the relationship as fundamental
transformation in Indian foreign policy. However, the current trend of India’s
engagement with other countries dispels such notions. In addition to this-
India might it useful to covey its ‘no-compromise tone’ to the US, from time to
time on the matters of national interests. The recent demonstration of
independent foreign policy with respect to Jerusalem Vote or North Korean
nuclear issue can be viewed as an Indian attempt to convey the tone of
strategic autonomy. In any case one may argue that the US-India relations have
entered such a phase that trivial matters cannot cause a knee jerk effect on
the interest-value based partnership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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forces
as major defence partners in the Indo-Pacific region, not just that at some
point post reciprocal military  liaison
officers at the respective  combatant
commands.

 

 Advising that a step by step approach is  more healthy than an approach that aimed at
resolving all the issues at once. 

 Ambassador also recognised in his remarks –
the importance of India as a leading power in the Indo pacific region