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Past & Future Dimensions Of Indo- US Relationship

Past & Future Dimensions Of Indo- US Relationship

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GS-2-   Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s

Past & Future Dimensions Of Indo- US Relationship

Pre- Independence support:

  • The United States under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early 1940s once pressed Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill to free India and co-opt India as a formal ally in World War II.
  • But Britain firmly and obstinately refused to agree despite the writing on the wall — that Indians had stood up and would achieve freedom sooner rather than later.
  • 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 into force on January 26, 1950.

UN and China:

  • India thus appeared to the U.S. as worthy of replacing China in the most important body of the United Nations, namely the Security Council, as a Permanent Member with a Veto in view of the Communist overthrow of the Chiang Kai-shek-led government.
  • However, the Prime minister of India thought that this would directly pit China against India. India certainly had the interest of securing the UNSC seat. But, it did not want it at the cost of China.

US – China – warmth:

In a turnaround the U.S. supported Communist People’s Republic of China and entered into “strategic partnership” in the 1970s onwards with the reform-minded new leadership of Deng Xiaoping.

Bonhomie with 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.
  • Pakistan which was no match in military, economic development, and ancient and continuous culture that ensured democracy, began to dream of equality with India in the international domain.

Its impacts on India:

  • As a consequence, India had to go to war with Pakistan in 1965, 1971 and 1999, losing precious lives defending our own territory.
  • The U.S. even sent a Seventh Fleet Task Force with nuclear weapons on board to threaten us on the dismemberment of Pakistan.

Today, thus, the new or fresh paradigm should be on how to structure India-U.S. understanding and which is in sync with common India-U.S. perspectives.

For this structuring we must: first realise that India-U.S. relations require give and take on both sides.


  • What India needs to take today is for dealing with the Ladakh confrontation on our side of the Line of Actual Control by China.
  • Obviously, India needs U.S. hardware military equipment.
  • India needs the support of the U.S. and its ally, 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 also 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.
  • India must be firm in two areas which are not amenable to give and take.
  • Economic relations must be based on macroeconomic commercial principles.
  • Free, indiscriminate flow of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) is not in India’s national interest.

Technologies front:

  • India needs technologies such as thorium utilisation, desalination of sea water, and hydrogen fuel cells.
  • 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 ₹35 to a dollar.


  • The other firm constraint is that India should not provide the U.S. with our troops to enter Tibet, or be involved in the Hong Kong and Taiwan issues because there is always a possibility of a leadership change in China, as what happened when Deng Xiaoping replaced Mao Zedong’s nominees in 1980.
  • Thus, China’s policy changed very favourably towards India.
  • In the cases of Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, India has made explicit agreements.
  • In the case of Tibet, two formal treaties were signed by Nehru (1954) and B. Vajpayee (2003).

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.

Source:”The Hindu”.


Understanding the past dimensions of the India and United States relationship is essential to shape the future dimensions. Elaborate.