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Sunday, April 18, 2021

New dimensions of India-US trade ties: 5 things you must know

So India-US trade relations are making headlines once again. The media outlets are full of news on the future possibilities of business relations between the world’s two biggest democracies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday made a long and powerful pitch to the US investors while seeking investments in fields of defense, agriculture, civil aviation, finance and insurance and healthcare among others.

Here are the five key aspects of this renewed US-India trade ties that hold a lot of promises, especially in the post-Covid world.

1. People-to-people ties

Modi said India is a trustworthy and open business partner and “a perfect combination of openness, opportunities and options” for the US investors. Foreign minister S. Jaishankar echoed the Prime Minister’s statement and elaborated it further by bringing in some examples. He said “people-to-people ties” is going to be one big factor of this new Indo-US relationship. So what is this “people-to-people ties” and how will it help boost the bilateral trade?

Jaishankar explained that there are about four million Indian-Americans in the US at present and they will build the foundation of the future relations between the two nations. The minister said the knowledge and expertise of this community about the culture and society of both India and the US will make a huge difference in bilateral business. It’s clear that India wants to focus more on bonding between people and quality relationships to begin the new era.

“For Indo-US relations, we need to think beyond trade. I learnt it a long time back that these are bread and butter issues,” Jaishankar told his US counterpart during a virtual address, reported ANI.

2. Geopolitical basket

Jaishankar spoke about geopolitical basket as one of the biggest game-changer of this renewed Indo-US trade ties. Under the term “geopolitical basket”, comes the entire gamut of various political issues that are detected by the geographical territories of a country. In the recent violent Indo-China standoff in Ladakh, we witnessed how a particular geographical region became a bone of contention between the two neighbors and finally, the entire episode ruined the Indo-China relations for the near future.

According to a report, Tata Group chairman N. Chandrasekaran too recently emphasized the connection between geopolitical situation and trade issues. He advised that Indian firms should partner with US companies for the global supply chain which he said is being redesigned and redefined in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

3. Emphasis on multipolar world

From the statements of both the Prime Minister and the foreign minister, it is clear that India is eyeing a larger global agenda by enhancing its trade relations with the US. India asked the US on Wednesday to have a “multipolar” approach in a bid to boost the bilateral ties.

What does this “multipolar world” idea mean? Well, as Jaishankar explained that India has changed as a nation and contrary to the previous decades, new ideas and opportunities are emerging across the country. As per reports, the minister said the US is “needed to work with a more multipolar world with more plurilateral arrangements” and the US “needs to go beyond alliances with which it has grown up in the last two generations”. This simply translates into India seeking more flexibility and cooperation from the US as a potential business partner.

4. Agreement on a final deal

According to experts, India and the US are closing in on a trade deal after almost two decades of thorough negotiations. The Centre on Wednesday specifically asked the US to iron out the old disputes, complaints and differences they had with India and move on from the past. According to a report by Reuters, India is seeking concessions for generic drugs it exports to the US in return of opening its dairy markets and reduced tariffs on farm goods.

With the latest Google’s announcement of a hefty sum of money to boost India’s digital ecosystem, it is quite predictable that both India and the US will work on developing technology. India mentioned specific sectors like connectivity, counter-terrorism, maritime security, knowledge economy and climate change where it is working to be able to emerge as a powerful nation in a post-Covid world.

5. A firm lesson to China

The US remains India’s largest trading partner already and anything beyond this will definitely not make China happy. The Indo-US bilateral trade touched $88.75 billion in the 2019-20 financial year. According to another group of experts, India and the US came closer following the violent Indo-China standoff in Ladakh. As the US carrier strike group held joint military drill with the Indian warships near the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to contain the Chinese aggression, it paved way for various other avenues to improve the Indo-US bilateral ties. India’s ban on Chinese apps, India’s 5G self-reliance, and Google’s investment, all will only strengthen the world’s two biggest democracies, making China biting the dust. So for now, there’s no looking back for the US-India relationship. Things will get even better if Modi’s “bestie” Donald Trump wins the upcoming elections.


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