How India-US ties evolved over the years

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Gravitas deskUpdated: Mar 20, 2021, 12:04 AM IST


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How have the ties between the largest democracy and the oldest one evolved over the years? Our report attempts to find out. 

The US is arguably India's most comprehensive security partner.

The collaboration extends in areas such as intelligence, maritime ties, space exploration and cyber cooperation.

The US Is also perhaps India's most comprehensive economic partner if we take into consideration research and development, education, technology, employment, energy and health care.

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This partnership has progressed at a time when almost every other major bilateral relationship be it with adversaries or allies has experienced immense challenges. 

India is that rare country in which both the Republicans and Democrats are on the same page.

In fact, both parties compete to project themselves as a better partner for India.

But how were the contours of this strategic partnership drawn?

And how have the ties between the largest democracy and the oldest one evolved over the years? Our report attempts to find out. 

In October 1949, India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru went on a multi-week tour of the US. 

He was hosted by US President Harry S Truman.

Just before the visit, India had formally proclaimed neutrality in the developing Cold War by spearheading the Non-Aligned Movement.

This laid the groundwork for the US's relationship with India and left room for friendly ties between Delhi and Moscow. 

In December 1959, Dwight Eisenhower became the first serving US President to visit New Delhi.

Eisenhower's visit helped India acquire adequate financial assistance and achieve reasonable stability during the Cold War.

Since then seven US presidents have visited India and nine Indian PMs have visited the US. 

But a strategic partnership between the two democracies emerged only in 2010.

In June 2010, the US and India formally convened the first-ever strategic dialogue when a large and high-ranking delegation of Indian officials visited Washington DC. 

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called India "an indispensable partner" and the US President Barack Obama called the relationship "a defining partnership in the 21st century".

In November 2010, Obama visited India and addressed the countrý's parliament.

He also backed India's long-held bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and also announced 14.9 billion dollars in trade deals. 

In the years that followed the strategic partnership only grew further. 

In 2011, India and the US signed an MoU on cybersecurity cooperation.

The very next year the US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta visited India to boost Obama's "pivot to Asia" plan. 

In 2014, the newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a high-profile visit to the US where agreements were signed. 

Obama attended India's Republic Day celebrations in 2015. 

In 2017, the then US President Donald Trump welcomed Modi at the White House.

The joint statements emphasised the existing defence partnership and counter-terrorism efforts.

In 2018, India and the US signed the COMCASA which gave India access to the US's advanced defence technology.  

Trump made his first and last visit to India as US president in 2020 in which New Delhi agreed to purchase US military equipment worth three billion dollars.

Currently, the India-US Strategic partnership is a broad-based and multi-sectoral affair and this is irrespective of who is in the White House.

New Delhi and Washington have been called natural allies with shared democratic values.

Last week, the first-ever Quad leaders' summit underscored this and now with the arrival of the US Defence Secretary in New Delhi, they're turning another page in both countries strategic partnership.