Editorial Notes

[Editorial Notes] A new direction for India-U.S. Ties

The relations between the two countries are at the peak at this point in time, and the future recourse will be decided after the November elections in the U.S.
By IASToppers
August 10, 2020


  • Introduction
  • The UN and China
  • The shift to Pakistan
  • America’s November poll
  • Way Forward
  • Conclusion

A new direction for India-U.S. Ties

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The United States under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early 1940s pressed Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill to free India and co-opt India as a formal ally in World War II. India stabilised after a bloody Partition in 1947, declared its commitment to democracy, fundamental rights, free press and non-violence in a written Constitution which came to force on January 26, 1950.

The UN and China:

  • U.S. decided to replace China with India in the United Nations Security Council as a Permanent Member with a Veto in the 1950s, in view of the Communist overthrow of the Chiang Kai-shek-led government in China.
  • Then PM Nehru declined the U.S. offer to India to become a UNSC Permanent Member with Veto as in his view it would affront China.
  • He instead campaigned for China to take up that seat.
  • The U.S., however, resisted that campaign till 1972, then entered into a strategic partnership in the 1970s onwards with the new leadership of Deng Xiaoping.

The shift to Pakistan:

  • In 1953 after India’s tilt to the Soviet Union and China in the Korean war, the U.S. turned to Pakistan as a possible counterweight in South Asia against the Soviet Union and China.
  • The U.S. made Pakistan a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), and liberally gave aid and armaments.
  • India had to go to war with Pakistan in 1965, 1971 and 1999 defending our own territory.
  • The U.S. even sent a Seventh Fleet Task Force with nuclear weapons on board to threaten India on the dismemberment of Pakistan.

America’s November poll:

  • The success of new bonding with the U.S. will depend on the outcome of the U.S. Presidential elections in November 2020.
  • The Democratic party rival of Trump and Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, has a clear hostile stand against India.
  • U.S. is wary of India’s purchase of S-400 air defence missile system from Russia.
  • The refusal to agree to America’s request to send Indian troops to Afghanistan have mostly browned-off U.S. officials.
  • Therefore, India needs to build trust with the U.S. for future meaningful engagement.

Way Forward:

1. Military Alliance:

  • India needs U.S. hardware military equipment for dealing with the Ladakh confrontation on the Line of Actual Control by China.
  • India does not need U.S. troops to fight our battles against China on our border.
  • The U.S. needs India to fight her enemies in the neighbourhood such as in Afghanistan.
  • India should consider sending two divisions gradually to Afghanistan and relieve U.S. troops to go home.

2. Strategic Alliance:

  • India needs the support of the U.S. and Israel in cyberwarfare, satellite mappings of China and Pakistan, intercepts of electronic communication, hard intelligence on terrorists, and controlling the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence in Pakistan.
  • India needs the U.S. to completely develop the Andaman & Nicobar, and the Lakshadweep Islands as a naval and air force base, which the U.S. can share along with its allies such as Indonesia and Japan.

3. Technological Alliance:

  • India needs technologies such as thorium utilisation, desalination of seawater, and hydrogen fuel cells.
  • However, it does not require the U.S. universities to start campuses in India, as proposed in the new National Education Policy.

4. Economical Alliance:

  • The U.S. must allow India’s exports of agricultural products including Bos indicus milk, which are of highly competitive prices in the world.
  • FDI should be allowed into India selectively from abroad, including from the U.S., based on the economic theory of comparative advantage and not on subsidies and gratis.
  • Tariffs of both India and the U.S. should be lowered, and the Indian rupee should be gradually revalued to a dollar.


India-U.S. relations require to give and take on both sides. The relations between the two countries are at the peak at this point of time, and the future recourse will be decided after the November elections in the U.S. In the long run, India, the U.S., and China should form a trilateral commitment for world peace provided Chinese current international policies undergo a healthy change.

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