2016 – A banner year in Indo-US relations
📆 2016 was yet another banner year in the Indo-US bilateral relationship. India and United States made significant gains in defense, trade, energy, health, science and innovation and so much more.
In Delhi second annual Strategic and Commercial Dialogue saw major gains on commerce front with the finalisation of new agreements in cyber security, travel & tourism and homeland security. In Washington Defense Minister Parrikar met Defense Secretary Aston carter to finalised logistics agreement.
🎯 The Deals:
- US also designated India as a major defence partner and played an instrumental role in India becoming a member of the prestigious Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
- Defence trade grew to over $15 billion esp with a conclusion of the long awaited M777 advanced howitzer deal.
- US launched a new Clean Energy Finance Initiative for solar power projects in India.
- U.S presented its commercial offer to construct six nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh. This year also saw a number of Indian students studying in the United States surging to an all-time high of 166,000.
💼 The Meetings:
- US Secretary of Defense Carter met with Defense minister Ashton carter for a record-setting seventh time in two years.
- President Obama and Prime Minister Modi met two times, first at the G-20 in Hangzhou and then a few days later in Laos at the East Asia Summit, bringing their official meeting count up to eight.
- U.S Secretary Kerry and Secretary Pritzker were in Delhi for the second annual Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and Defense Minister Parrikar was in Washington meeting with Secretary Carter to finalise a long-pending logistics agreement.
- President elect Donald Trump has publicly expressed his appreciation for Prime Minister Modi and praised him for taking steps for reviving the Indian economy. 2017 only looks brighter for Indo-US ties.
- The US is India’s second largest trading partner, and India is its 11th largest trading partner. In 2015, the US exported $21.5 billion worth of goods to India, and imported $44.8 billion worth of Indian goods.
- The United States is also India’s largest investment partner, with a direct investment of $9 billion (accounting for 9 percent of total foreign investment).
- American imports from India amounted to $46.6 billion or 2% of its overall imports, and 15.3% of India’s overall exports in 2015. The 10 major commodities exported from India to the US were: (Gems,precious metals and coins), (Pharmaceuticals), Oil, Machinery, Other textile, Clothing (not knit or crochet), Organic Chemical, etc.
- The India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement also referred to as the “123 Agreement”, signed on 10 October 2008 is a bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation which governs civil nuclear trade between American and Indian firms to participate in each other’s civil nuclear energy sector. For the agreement to be operational, nuclear vendors and operators must comply with India’s 2010 Nuclear Liability Act which stipulates that nuclear suppliers, contractors and operators must bear financial responsibility in case of an accident.
- Increase in bilateral trade & investment, cooperation on global security matters, inclusion of India in decision-making on matters of global governance (United Nations Security Council), upgraded representation in trade & investment forums (World Bank, IMF, APEC), admission into multilateral export control regimes (NSG, MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group) and joint-manufacturing through technology sharing arrangements have become key milestones and a measure of speed and advancement on the path to closer US-India relations.
- In 2016, India and United States signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and has been declared as Major Defence Partner of the United States.
- According to Gallup’s annual World Affairs survey, India is perceived by Americans as their 6th favorite nation in the world, with 71% of Americans viewing India favourably in 2016.
- Over 1 million Indians travelled to the United States in 2016 and over 1.2 million Americans travelled to India. Its nearly 20 percent increase from the previous year.
In 2017 United States and India will co-host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India in 2017. This is an event that will bring together thousands of entrepreneurs from across the world to bolster the innovation ecosystem in India and the United States.
2016 will be remembered as the year when India and U.S shed the hesitations of history to closely collaborate on key issues like defence, counter-terrorism and civil nuclear energy. Both became natural partners and bridges of partnerships were built.