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Foreign Policy Watch

Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States India Beyond its Neighbours

 Redraw the triangle

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Once You are done reading this news-card. You can get some important points for writing the below mentioned questions. After reading this op-ed you may not be able to attempt the whole question but combining it few other op-eds we have discussed previously will definitely help you in attempting the whole questions.

Q.) Since Independence, India’s relations with the US have gone through three phases. Analyse these phases and critically comment on nature of India’s relationship with the US today. (200 Words)

From UPSC perspective, following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Article gives points, suggesting, why India should not tilt towards USA, more than a certain level.


1. The writer talks about the recent Modi-Trump Meet

2. Writer is suggesting why India should do a policy rethink, on relations with the US and China as they have developed since 2014.

Historical Background of India-USA relations

India’s relations with the US have gone through three phases.

1. From 1947 to 1971, India tilted towards the US even as it insisted on non-alignment. Jawaharlal Nehru disdained communism and was on record stating that, at the limit, in a fight, India would side with the Anglo-American democracies.

2. In the second phase of the relationship, from 1971 to 1989, India tilted the other way, siding with the Soviet Union and against the Anglo-Americans while remaining formally non-aligned.

3. We are now in the third phase of India-US relations. What is striking about the last 27 years is that India has increasingly tilted towards the US in global strategic terms.

Why India has tilted towards USA in last 3 decaes?

1. At the heart of the steadily increasing strategic tilt towards the US has been India’s worry over the dramatic rise of China. In 1990, the GDP of India and China was roughly equal in nominal and purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

2. In 2017, China’s economy is nearly five times India’s size in nominal terms and two-and-a-half times larger in PPP terms. This growing power imbalance largely accounts for India’s tilt towards the US under successive prime ministers.

Areas where China is more important for USA(than India)

1. In Current Scenario, China is regarded as a valued partner in dealing with the US’s trade deficit and in containing North Korea

2. Trump must be careful not to alienate China because of Beijing’s importance for America’s economic health and its policies towards North Korea

3. And US has a big Trade Deficit with India

India’s steps that can help US to reduce their Trade Deficit with India

1. India has put in a request for over $2 billion worth of US maritime surveillance drones

2. It is close to an agreement with Lockheed Martin to produce F-16 fighters in India

3. Spice Jet is likely to buy 100 aircraft from Boeing

4. India will also continue to buy liquified natural gas (LNG) from America

Policy rethink for India

1. India must renew and deepen relationships elsewhere, particularly in Europe

2. Enhancing relations with Japan and resetting India’s relations with Moscow should be India’s another priority.

3. India should reduce trade deficits with USA

4. We must not be too-aggressive with China.