US President’s last visit to India was in March 2000 (Prez Clinton). Since then India-US relations have warmed politically, economically and strategically. But niggling differences remain, particularly over trade. Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s first official visit to India, listed are the following main areas of agreement and discord between USA & India. Being the world’s 5th largest economy (IMF), India will become the planet’s most populous country by 2027 (UN).
US-India trade volumes: USD 19 billion (2000), USD 140 billion (2018). Indian diaspora in USA is around FOUR Million and they are major contributors in Silicon Valley; the CEO of Microsoft and Google were both born in India. During Trump’s visit, India may agree to the sale of five nuclear reactors.
US TRADE DEFICIT with India: USD 30 billion (2016) and now USD 25 billion (2018)
USA imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from India in 2018 and SUSPENDED India’s ‘duty-free privileges’ under GSP in 2019. India’s “Make in India” policy implementation lead India to increase in Import Duties from US farm products, there is likely more increase in tariff in this year’s budget. Plans to force foreign firms to store Indian consumers’ data locally have also irked US businesses, as have e-commerce regulations hitting firms such as Amazon and Walmart. A US decision on whether to impose sanctions on India as a result is outstanding, something that would dramatically worsen relations between the two countries.
The US and India share a mistrust of China. They have been equally worried by China’s growing clout in Indian Ocean, while China has enraged India with its economic and diplomatic support for arch enemy Pakistan.
In 2016, the US designated India as a “Major Defense Partner” and in 2019, they signed a deal easing the TRANSFER of advanced weaponry and SHARING of encrypted military communications. Trump and Modi will reportedly sign around USD 3 billion worth of DEFENSE DEALS including for 24 Anti-submarine Navy Helicopters. There will be discussion of USD 1.9-billion MISSILE DEFENSE SHIELD for capital city New Delhi.
It will be a cause of irritant for Modi if Trump repeats his offer to mediate between India & Pakistan on dispute over Kashmir. Modi will not like hearing any criticism over India’s move in August 2019 to revoke partial autonomy of Indian Kashmir and on imposing security and communications lock down. Any allusion by Trump to new citizenship legislation criticized as anti-Muslim might also go down badly.
Any tussle on any issue will mean that efforts to reach a COMPREHENSIVE TRADE DEAL will be doomed, although they may reach a smaller agreement.
Source: AFP (Edited/Summarized)