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Together We Can
By Sidharth Balakrishna
| Category: U.S. India Relations

The United States and India are poised on the cusp of new era; there is an increasing recognition that the two countries could collaborate in a number of spheres. It is this motivation that has been the primary driver behind recent reciprocal bilateral visits of the Heads of Government of both countries. The intent towards strategic collaboration is perhaps symbolized by the recent progress on the Civil Nuclear Agreement, but co-operation in a number of other areas, while less symbolic, but no less important, could define the engagement between the two countries over the next few years and beyond.

 

In the realm of energy and energy conservation, the potential for working together is considerable. The energy landscape has been transformed in United States in recent times and Indian institutions could benefit considerably from their US counterparts such as the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in areas of mapping shale oil and gas for example and best regulatory practices.

 

Natural gas hydrates are another such potential source that could go a long way in meeting the burgeoning energy requirements of an emerging nation such as India, provided the appropriate technology becomes available. Both these fuel sources could play a role in partially replacing India’s traditional dependence on relatively more polluting thermal fuels. 

 

In addition, the two countries could co-operate in R&D related to renewable energy sources. This could provide a win-win situation for both countries; the expertise of scientists based in the US, when combined with the low-cost engineering possible in India could assist in commercializing technologies whose economic feasibility is currently debatable.

 

Such efforts will help, to an extent at least, in mitigating the concerns around climate change as both India and China aim at rapid economic growth, wishing to take their place at the global stage.   

 

Indeed, the low-cost design and engineering abilities prevalent in India, along with the benefits of a shared language and common concerns, also offer possibilities in several other sectors such as the development and commercialization of new pharmaceutical molecules and more advanced semi-conductors for example. 

 

The United States and India, with their shared values, could also play a major role in ensuring peace and stability within and between the nations of the world. Besides sharing of intelligence between each other as has been currently occurring, the two countries could also work to strengthen democratic institutions such as an impartial judicial system and an independent election commission that conducts free and fair elections, in more fledgling democracies. 

 

Looked at holistically, both countries depict a system that works. Despite certain flaws, they offer a vision in which people can aspire towards justice, empowerment and prosperity. Together in strategic partnership, both the US and India thus offer a model that other countries may wish to emulate.