In a recent article about Joe Biden and Narendra Modi, the economist stated that we may be witnessing the most important transaction of the 21st century. In this article I’ll be explaining why this is, the history and what this all means for U.S relations with India
The Hype Around U.S relations with India
Joe Biden and Narendra Modi seem to be bringing their countries closer together. The deal is coming just days after Anthony Blinken’s visit to China and the relationship is said to be a response to the growing threat posed by China.
In regard to the looming deal, Biden reckons it’ll be the biggest milestone since 2005. To mark the occasion Modi has even been honoured with a state visit.
Come next week he will be one of the few foreign leaders, alongside Churchill, Mandela and Zelensky to address a joint session of Congress more than once.
My Enemy’s Enemy is My Friend
With the fifth largest economy in the world, it’s clear that India has become a force to be reckoned with. It’s got a diaspora of 18 million and many of them live in western countries. There is an abundance of potential for increased trade and investment and India’s democratic model gives investors good reason to commit.
But for the realists of this world, the most important reason for the flourishing relationship is China. Like America, India doesn’t want it’s region dominated by a nuclear other. And with Pakistan to it’s left, India isn’t about to say no to American assistance.
The Story Of U.S Relations With India So Far…
Many will be surprised by the flourishing relationship. During the cold war and under Nehru India led the nonaligned movement. It wasn’t a fan of either the United States or the Soviets and followed very much followed its own path.
Today, India is, on paper, a capitalist and democratic country. And yet critics have questioned Modi for his lack of liberalism. The government is said to be very hard on Muslims and here India may, ironically, have more in common with China than it does America (Though one look at U.S foreign policy over the last thirty years would give one reason to question that claim).
India’s human right record is questionable and there are an increasing amount of lynchings against the country’s minorities. And yet the United States is willing to overlook all this in it’s bid to contain China. Xi Jinping threatens Biden’s dominance in the region and Modi’s upward trajectory makes him a useful ally. India’s GDP is expected to overtake both Japan’s and Germany’s by 2028.
Are The United States and India Allies?
It’s important to mention at this point that this is still a distant relationship. India isn’t doing this because it loves the west. But like Japan, it really doesn’t like China. It’s because of this that it’s aligning with America.
America should also have cause for concern. No country, other than China, has supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as much as India. Putin and Modi have a decent relationship and India has been giving Russia money in exchange for oil.
Furthermore, India still suffers from internal conflict. Of its 1.4 billion citizens only 60 million have jobs.
That’s mad by the way. That’s almost 50%. Almost 50% of Indian don’t have jobs. And yet it’s one of the richest countries in the world? Can you imagine the divide in that place? Jesus.
In saying all that, the general consensus is that things are looking very good for India. The bosses of Alphabet, IBM and Microsoft are of Indian descent. Three of America’s top five business schools are led by Indians. And in stark contrast to China, which only 15% of Americans view favourably, India is favoured by a whopping 70%.
What does this mean for U.S relations with India?
As a member of the quad, with America, Japan and Australia, India has agreed to a series of defence deals with The United States. The deals are set to be signed next week. In doing this, Indian and America will enhance military and technological co-operation.
This is actually really smart from America. By boosting India’s defence industry that may be able to wean it off Russia.
Other areas of co-operation include clean energy, general technology and both seek to reduce how much they rely on China.
As I mentioned earlier it’s important to not get too carried away. India has a long history of mistrusting the west and continues to do so. It still intends to do deals with countries like Russia, who the west hold in contempt. If America asked, it’s questionable whether they’d even consider helping with Taiwan.
Equally, America must balance it’s realism with idealism and continue to call out India for it’s human rights violations. I get that America isn’t really one to speak after everything it’s done but the alternative is a world in which no one champions ideals.
This is a relationship that will likely function like a long term business arrangement. Let’s hope it’s a fruitful one.