A New Saga Of US-India Dosti; NaMo-Biden All Set To Rewrite History


Washington DC: On June 21 afternoon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi touches down at the Andrews Airforce base not far away from Washington DC, he seems all set to etch another chapter for a stronger Indo-US relations.

And the menu curated by his team on the ground has transformed into a state visit that symbolises the true depth of the partnership.

From a private dinner hosted by US President Joe Biden catering to the PM’s vegetarian taste buds, followed by a day of the substantive summit meeting that will be preceded by a formal welcome at the South Lawn of the White House, where an invited audience from across the US will celebrate the two leaders and the India-US dosti that has only boomed under President Biden and Prime Minister Modi.

Indian PM Modi & US Prez Joe Biden (file photo)

The State visit marks a lot of specials a private dinner with the President, a large diaspora gathering at the White House, a state dinner and the address to the Joint session of the US Congress. PM Modi will also keep his promise to some of his Indian diaspora supporters who had initially wanted an event in Chicago, but before he leaves for India on June 23, a big diaspora event has now been scheduled in Washington DC.

What is important to note is that these have been achieved with some deft diplomacy despite a lot of pressure on the Biden administration not to accord a state visit for the Indian Premier and to instead shore up the human rights issues ahead of PM Modi’s visit.


Led by the team that has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the past several months to stitch a visit on this scale, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, his counterpart Anthony Blinken, and the two national security advisers — Ajit Doval and Jake Sullivan — laid out a broad template and worked on the deliverables.

While from the US side, key officials from the National Security Council, which advises the President on national security and foreign affairs issues, took the lead, on the Indian side, the brass tacks were handled by India’s energetic envoy to US Taranjit Sandhu and his diplomatic team in Washington DC. In New Delhi, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, an old US and PMO hand ensured that the negotiations on the joint statements and critical pieces were kept on a fast track.

What Will This State Visit Achieve?

For India, the visit continues to elevate its growing clout in the international community and PM Modi’s stature as a world leader gets a boost. In the global diplomatic arena, US continues to enjoy a leading role and it is a clear message to the world that India matters and even more. For the Biden administration, the visit will lead to a big boost to jobs in the US with defence deals worth billions of dollars in the offing.

This will be helpful for the US economy at a critical juncture for India, which is access to world-class defence technology with access to tech transfer.


But beyond the optics, what makes this visit special, India’s Ambassador Sandhu told NewsMobile: “While Prime Minister Modi has visited US multiple times in the past, this visit is special both in terms of the ceremonial and substantive aspects. The prime minister would become only the 3rd Indian leader to have been invited for a state visit since India’s Independence. Between various components of the visit, both leaders would spend a considerable amount of time. The PM will also address a Joint Meeting of the US Congress, becoming the only Indian leader to do so twice.


On the big outcomes, Ambassador Sandhu was upbeat

“The visit will see several concrete outcomes across the spectrum, building on the momentum and positivity of the last two and a half years. Technology, particularly the Initiative on Critical & Emerging Technology (iCET) that focuses on semiconductors, AI, space, etc., defence industrial collaboration, healthcare, clean energy, education & skills and B2B connect, would be some of the key areas that would get highlighted. The visit will also reflect the trust and confidence, development orientation and the increasing strategic convergence that the bilateral relationship has today, evolving into a true partnership for global good.”

And the whole partnership has seen a turnaround. The bilateral relations between India and US have witnessed significant growth over the past decade. Economic ties have flourished, with trade and investment reaching new heights. The US has become one of India’s largest trading partners, while India has attracted American companies for expansion, contributing to job creation and economic growth.

In the defence sector, India’s designation as a “Major Defence Partner” by the United States has facilitated greater defence cooperation and technology transfer. During the recent visit, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin further emphasised the importance of defence collaboration. The Biden administration recognises India’s strategic significance in countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Moreover, India’s influence in global politics has grown significantly. As a founding member of the Quad, India promotes a free and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The personal rapport and regular interactions between PM Modi and President Biden have also laid a solid foundation for enhanced bilateral relations.

The visit will reinforce the mutual trust between the two sides and also allay doubts created by some experts that India and US were not dependable partners, the substantive agenda and optics of the visit are also aimed at shattering this myth.

Here are the key pillars of the Indo-US relationship

Enhanced Diplomatic Relations

Agreements on trade, defence, and critical minerals are on the agenda, further deepening diplomatic ties. The US and India have shared great diplomatic relations through various notable instances. These include signing the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, joint military exercises like the Malabar Naval Exercise, growing defence cooperation, collaboration in counterterrorism efforts, expanding economic and trade relations, and fostering people-to-people exchanges through cultural and educational programmes. These instances reflect the commitment of both nations to strengthening their strategic partnership and cooperation.

Indian PM Modi & US Prez Joe Biden
Indian PM Modi & US Prez Joe Biden (file photo)

Expanding Economic Ties

The US-India relations have witnessed remarkable growth in trade and investment over the past two decades. Bilateral trade reached a record-breaking $191 billion last year, showcasing the increasing economic integration. The INDUS-X conference, hosted by the US-India Business Council (USIBC), will further strengthen business ties by fostering collaboration on high-tech innovations and defence.

Historically, the trade balance between the two countries has been in favour of India. India tends to export more goods and services to the United States than it imports. However, the trade deficit has been decreasing in recent years due to growing US exports to India. Both the countries have engaged in various trade agreements and initiatives to promote bilateral trade. Some notable agreements and initiatives include the US-India Trade Policy Forum and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme. These agreements aim to address trade barriers, promote investment, and enhance economic cooperation between the two countries.

Deepening Defence Cooperation

India and US have fostered a robust defence partnership aimed at countering shared security challenges and limiting China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Key defence agreements, such as COMCASA and BECA, have facilitated interoperability and technology transfer. The visit will witness the signing of a joint production agreement, highlighting progress in the Indo-US defence partnership. The US aims to bring India’s military capabilities to the level where it integrates with the US’ next level of integrated deterrence called the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy.

Strategic Pivots

Both countries share common geostrategic interests, particularly in countering China’s assertiveness in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. India’s inclusion in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) alongside the US, Australia, and Japan serves as a counterweight to Chinese ambitions. The revival of US-India Homeland Security Dialogue and initiatives like the Clean Energy 2030 partnership strengthen cooperation on cybersecurity, technology, and countering violent extremism.

Bipartisan Support: Over two years, a proactive push by the Indian diplomats with active outreach to both the parties — Democrats and the Republicans and with state governors and Congressmen and Senators — have led to a big push for the relationship and a strong and influential diaspora have helped this cause.

As Ajay Bhutoria, a leading Indian American leader and Deputy Chair of the Democratic Party, told NewsMobile: “The state visit recognises the significant contributions and aspirations of the Indian diaspora in US. Prime Minister Modi’s interactions with the Indian-American community not only celebrate their achievements but also reaffirm their integral role in fostering stronger ties between the two nations. This engagement strengthens the sense of pride and belonging among the Indian diaspora, empowering them to actively participate in the growth and development of both the nations.”

Moreover, the visit signifies the commitment of both nations to uphold the rights and welfare of people of Indian origin living in US. Discussions on immigration policies, visa facilitation, and cultural integration aim to create a conducive environment for the Indian diaspora to thrive and contribute to the socio-economic fabric of the US.

The Big Numbers Tell The Story Of A Never Before Partnership

  • The recently launched US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), elevates and expands the strategic technology partnership between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.
  • Over 160 Indian companies are present throughout all 50 US states and have collectively generated over $40 billion in tangible investments in US.
  • Together, they have created or saved over 425,000 jobs in US. Their financing of US-based Research and Development (R&D) projects with nearly $1 billion invested, as well as corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts with nearly $195 million invested, is also on the rise.
  • Nearly 200,000 Indian students in US have contributed approximately $7.7 billion annually to the US economy.

Chairman of Indiaspora, MR Rangaswami said, “The state visit of PM Modi is generating immense excitement and heightened expectations. Anticipation is mounting with major announcements on the horizon. The immediate focus will be on emerging technologies and semiconductors.”

“I firmly believe that this momentous visit will serve as a catalyst, forging a path towards substantial cooperation that will extend well into the next decade. The realm of defence, in particular, holds great promise, as India’s manufacturing of strategic products will bear long-term benefits. In the space arena, we can envision a robust collaboration that paves the way for joint manned flights and more. Another pivotal focus area will revolve around addressing climate change and embracing green technologies,” he said.

“This forthcoming visit carries profound implications, with mutual benefits where both nations stand to gain a win-win outcome.”

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