On the occasion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the United States during the Trump Administration, the East-West Center in Washington in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is launching its India Matters for America/America Matters for Indiapublication. The publication is part of the East-West Center in Washington’s Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia initiative. India Matters for America/America Matters for India highlights the upward trajectory and expanding and deepening nature of the US-India partnership in areas such as defense, trade and investment, and education and people-to-people exchanges. It particularly emphasizes the different ways in which the relationship connects people at state and local levels or as Prime Minister Modi put it today, “beyond the beltway and Raisina Hill”.
In recent years, the US-India relationship has made significant strides in all sectors. In 2015, the US-India Strategic Dialogue was upgraded to the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in recognition of the depth of bilateral economic, security, and people-to-people relations.
Positive bilateral ties have continued under the Trump administration. In March, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval committed to “sustain the momentum on key bilateral defense efforts.” The White House stated that President Trump and Prime Minister Modi will use the prime minister’s visit to “set forth a vision that will expand the US-India partnership in an ambitious and worthy way.” US Press Secretary Sean Spicer also noted that the United States would seek to expand trade in natural gas and related technologies. This follows other discussions held by the two states, including the US-India Maritime Security Dialogue. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also met with her Indian counterpart, Syed Akbarrudin, in April of 2017 where they discussed the importance of UN reforms and expanding partnership in the United Nations. Earlier in March Ambassador Haley had stated that she was open to the idea of United Nations Security Council reform, which raises the possibility of Indian membership.
There also continues to be immense growth in commerce, investment, and defense-based cooperation. Trade between the two countries has increased by nearly 200% since 2005. Defense trade has increased from $1 billion in 2008 to $15 billion today. US exports to India support 260,000 jobs across all 50 states, and 1 million tourists and 166,000 students from India contribute $11.4 billion and $5 billion to the American economy, respectively. The United States is the largest source of tourists to India, contributing over $3 billion to the Indian economy. Currently, 3.5 million Indian Americans – one of the world’s largest Indian diaspora communities – reside in the United States and contribute $11.7 billion in remittances to India.
Downloadable PDF of the India Matters for America/ America Matters for India publication can be found here.
Crispinus Lee and Roman Madaus are research interns at the East-West Center in Washington. Crispinus is a student of international affairs at Cornell University, and Roman recently received his master's of strategic studies from Australia National University.