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US-India: "Forward together we go - Chalein sath sath"
By Darpan Saxena
| Category: U.S. India Relations

As nations committed to values of democracy, liberty, diversity and enterprise, India and US are bound by common values and increasingly convergent mutual and global interests. With our top leaders President Obama and PM Modi sharing great camaraderie and rapport, there is a renewed energy in the relationship and we must not miss this historic opportunity to take our relationship to the next level. In the next five years, we need to focus on key areas like bilateral trade, energy, science and technology, defense and global peace to help both the countries prosper together. Let us discus these focus areas one by one.

 

The value of our bilateral trade tripled during 2004-08 and continues to grow. India is a 1.3 billion strong market for goods and services waiting to be tapped. US already is the biggest investor to India and with areas like defense, telecom, insurance and railways opening up for FDI, US has an opportunity to be part of India’s growth and reap rich dividends.

 

As a fast growing nation, India has a huge demand of energy. India has huge potential for harnessing clean energy sources like nuclear, solar and wind energy and US can play a key role in promoting the use of  clean energy by financing and sharing technology for it. India also needs help in achieving better energy efficiency. Better cooperation here will also result in ironing out our differences on climate change issues and we will move towards a common ground.

 

Further, through its proven scientific and technical expertise, US can help us build core infrastructure of highways, rail networks, riverways, seaways, ports, cold-storages and telecom networks; assist in imparting quality education to the largest workforce in the world; drive the second generation of green revolution and help us build self-sufficient smart cities. As India is ambitiously digitizing its villages, we have a lot to learn from the e-governance models in US. We also need to jointly research on healthcare that would help us cure diseases like cancer and conquer diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and dengue. Existing collaboration in space, technical institutions and IT needs further push through more people-to-people contact and exchange of ideas.

 

In defense sector, India is the largest importer of arms in the world and bought more military equipment from US over the last three years than from any other country. US can play a bigger role here, by exporting and helping Indian firms produce arms via the “Make in India” initiative.

 

The global reach and influence of both countries can ensure peaceful functioning of the world. India, being a stabilizing force in the South Asia and a potential counterweight to China, is key to US’ ability to create balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region. India and US should also cooperate better for stability in volatile regions like Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. Moreover, with the continuous rise of terrorism and organized crime, we must work together by sharing intelligence, through counter-terrorism and law-enforcement cooperation to curb this menace. Going forward, we should see more thrust into Indo-US campaign to promote stable, well-governed democracies around the world.

 

High time the two greatest democracies of the world, the oldest and the biggest, deepen people-to-people, business-to-business and government-to-government linkages and move forward together for a better, safer and happier world.