United States really need India as its friend
The Indo-US relationship has been transformed from a bilateral one to a strategic partnership. In the issues related to its foreign policy vis a vis Asia-Pacific region United States of America cannot undermine the growing influence of India and also its economic prowess.
Being a nuclear power and rising economic powerhouse of South Asia, the importance and relevance of India cannot be ignored by the world powers. US have increasingly been looking upon India and its growing influence as an alternative to Chinese hegemony in the region. Currently India tops the US’ priority list for its regional designs. Newly elected President of United States Mr Donald Trump recognizes this fact and has supported India in its fight against terrorism.
It is believed that it takes growing influence of India to counter the rising influence of China which is the only power in the present uni polar world which to some extent can stand near the global influence of US. The disintegration of USSR has seen many shifts in US’ interest towards India, as a result of which India’s proximity with US has raised many folds in the last couple of decades. The US has emphasized time and again that it wants to see India as a great power.
As per former US Ambassador to India, David C Mulford, “The US is in favor of a decisively broader strategic relationship to help India achieve its goals as one of the world's great multi-ethnic democracies. The vision embraces cooperation on a global strategy for peace, defence, energy, and economic growth”.
America’s Interest to see India as an Asia Pacific power
Time and again the United States has been emphasizing that it wants India to become a great power in the near future. The reason behind is rising influence of China in the region which America always looks upon as a threat to its global hegemony. US think that no country in the region can act as a counter to Chinese influence as powerfully as India. India can act great player in the balance of power in the unipolar world.
America’s interest in Indian market and economy
Since last two decades Indian economy and the market has always been attracting US and other big economies. Recently the United Nations estimated that the Indian economy is expected to rise with a growth rate of 5.3 per cent in 2014. Major US investors are willing to invest in India due to its rising economic prowess post liberalization.
There has been a little basic shift in US relation towards India which cannot be missed while talking about Indo-US relations.
Civilian Nuclear Technology
Since last three decades India was denied access to civil nuclear technology. But the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement which was signed in 2008 gave India access to the same. The signing of the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement has been regarded as a major step towards Next Step in Strategic Partnership.
Indo –US Defence Cooperation Agreement
In September 2013, the Obama administration in an unprecedented manner through a joint declaration agreed to cut through American laws that have been inhibiting a full-fledged defence partnership between the two countries. Such a provision is provided only to close allies of the US like South Korea and Turkey. The joint declaration also took note of India’s acceptance of an invite to participate in RIMPAC, a U.S.-organized naval exercise in which nearly two dozen nations are expected to participate. India has already participated in the Malabar, Red Flag and Yudh Abhyas joint military exercises with the U.S.
Not everything is good: India on caution
The Indo- US relations are not at all free from scrutiny based on past American record of strictly adhering to its own interests when it comes to dealing with other countries. Some of the intellectuals like Arundhati Roy are of the view that America doesn’t have any permanent friend or enemy, rather it only has permanent interests. They are of the view that India must not allow itself to become a pawn in the US’s China containment strategy. They also think that the US’ attempts to enlist India in its new balancing strategy are essentially aimed at serving its own interests.
With the absence of the "balancing factors" that existed earlier, with Russia, the European Union and the United States losing their prominence in the world economy, to expect America to stand up in India’s fight if it is at the receiving end will be erroneous. So, India needs to opt for a self interest driven course and build the bilateral relationship on broader congruence of interests and shared values without countering America’s regional ambitions.
There are some issues on which both US and India differ like climate change, outsourcing, Nuclear Non- proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and India’s approach towards Iran which has been reeling under constant economic sanctions since last 34 years after the Islamic Revolution there.
With the growing American interest in India and its economy there is a need for India to adopt a cautious and calculated policy posture vis a vis many issues of mutual concern for both the countries.