In about a hundred words on the upcoming Indian – American Summit

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Great power politics and fast-paced geopolitical developments continue to churn through Asia. At the heart of this interaction is India and its rising global clout, as well as policy commitment to pursue its national interests. This week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mondi will meet with American President Joe Biden. Given the regional and global stakes at hand, GLOBSEC asks three experts from the United States and India; What is the most pressing policy disagreement that India and the United States must overcome to elevate their bilateral relationship?

Sumit Ganguly, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations, Indiana University, Bloomington

The most important policy disagreement that India and the United States must overcome involves their differing views about the role of Pakistan in the subcontinent. India, especially under the present government, sees Pakistan as an implacable foe. Worse still, it views Pakistan as the epicenter of terror in South Asia. The U.S., while it has significantly downgraded its relationship with Pakistan, is nevertheless seeking to elicit Pakistan’s cooperation to advance counterterrorism goals in South Asia. These two positions are fundamentally incompatible. The American efforts to court Pakistan in this endeavor provokes
long-standing Indian misgivings harking back to the Cold War.

Joseph Sullivan, Former White House Official, Author, and Economic Adviser

India has long-standing ties to Russia. A priority of U.S. foreign policy is now isolating, and imposing costs on, Russia. Yet India and the U.S. are also close allies. A central question then becomes: how much is India willing to modify its behavior towards Russia to make it consistent with U.S. foreign policy? Both Delhi and Washington need to have reasonable expectations for what each can expect from the other in good faith. India and the U.S. are friends. But one of India’s closest friends, Russia, is trying to kill one of America’s close friends, Ukraine. That’s a tricky situation.

Anushka Kaushik, Senior Research Fellow and Cyber Lead, GLOBSEC

Making concerted efforts to resolve bottlenecks in matters of trade policy could prove to be a game- hanger in Indo-US relations. Despite the United States being India’s largest trading partner, according to the latest government estimates, the U.S. is yet to reinstate the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) status since revoking it in 2019. There continue to be challenges around the imposition of higher tariffs by India playing out at the World Trade Organisation, which the United States sees as one part of a larger move towards protectionist tendencies. Additionally, policies around Intellectual Property (I.P.) remain a bone of contention between the two countries, as evidenced by the 2023 Annual Special 301 report by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) despite India’s steady improvements in its IPR laws.