On October 26, 2020, Secretary Pompeo traveled to India to advance U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership and expand cooperation to promote stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world. While in New Delhi, Secretary Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, and their Indian counterparts led the third annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in just over two years demonstrating high-level commitment to our shared diplomatic and security objectives.
“We see each other for what we are: great democracies, global powers, and really good friends.” – Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on the U.S.-India relationship
The U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership
The United States and India have a strong and growing bilateral relationship built on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. As the world’s oldest and largest democracies, the United States and India enjoy deeply rooted democratic traditions. The growth in the partnership reflects a deepening strategic convergence on a range of issues. Our cooperation is expanding in important areas including health, infrastructure development, energy, aviation, science, and space.
India is a Regional and International Leader
The United States welcomes India’s emergence as a leading regional and global power and looks forward to collaborating closely with India during its upcoming term on the UN Security Council. The recent Quadrilateral Ministerial meeting in Tokyo convened by Secretary Pompeo and his counterparts from India, Japan, and Australia, demonstrated the strong cooperative ties among Indo-Pacific democracies interested in strengthening a rules-based order in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous. The Quad is focused on, among other efforts, creating resilient supply chains, promoting transparency, countering disinformation, and enhancing maritime security. India, with its large economy, strong support for entrepreneurship and innovation, and its growing international trade, is one of the world’s leading economic powers and is well positioned to promote our shared vision for a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific where all nations can prosper.
New Levels of Defense and Security Cooperation
Defense cooperation is a central pillar of the U.S.-India relationship, grounded in growing service-to-service interoperability and bolstering India’s role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region and beyond. The U.S. and Indian services are expanding the scope and complexity of military exercises and increasing liaison officer exchanges. In July 2020, the Indian Navy successfully completed a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the U.S. Navy as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group transited through the Indian Ocean Region. In 2019, the U.S. and India held their first-ever tri-service exercise, Tiger Triumph, in which the U.S. Navy and Marines, Air Force, and Army joined with their Indian counterparts. Defense trade has increased significantly over the past two decades. India maintains the largest fleets of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside of the United States, and as of 2020 the United States has authorized more than $20 billion in defense sales to India. The United States and India also enjoy robust defense industrial cooperation and through the U.S.- India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the United States and India work together on co-production and co-development of defense equipment.
People-to-People Ties: An Unbreakable Bond of Friendship
Indian students enrich our universities and colleges, contribute to the American economy, and build lifelong bonds with Americans. The number of Indian students studying in the United States has increased five years in a row, more than doubling from 96,000 students in the 2012- 13 academic year to more than 200,000 in 2018-19. The Indian diaspora in the United States is nearly four million strong and more than 50,000 Indian-Americans gathered in Houston over a year ago to attend the “Howdy Modi” rally, the largest-ever gathering with a foreign political leader in the United States. The Fulbright-Nehru Program is central to fulfilling the February 2020 commitment by President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to increase higher education collaboration. Since its creation 70 years ago, the program has awarded more than 10,000 Fulbright scholarships and nearly 9,000 other awards to U.S. and Indian students, scholars, and professionals. In 2019, the Department launched Partnership 2020 to fund fifteen research partnerships between American and Indian higher education institutions in key 21st century fields such as financial technology, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and public health. In 2021, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will expand the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in India in support of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative. This initiative will help women develop the skills, resources, and networks needed to start and scale successful businesses.
Read more about Secretary Pompeo’s October 26-27 trip to India here.
Read more about U.S.-India relations here.
Read more about the Quadrilateral Ministerial meeting here.
About the Author: Susan Ross is serving as the Public Diplomacy Desk Officer for India in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.