There is a renewed momentum in the India-US relationship, New Delhi’s top envoy to the United States told a think-tank here, observing that the strategic partnership between the two sides has deepened and the overall bilateral partnership broadened. He said the continuous high-level political engagements between India and the US signals bipartisan support on both sides for further deepening the partnership.
“One of our ministers, the other day, spoke about the sunrise moment in our bilateral relations. Sunrise is beautiful, it is promising and brings with it a lot of positive energy. We are in such a moment, in our bilateral partnership,” India’s Ambassador to US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said. “However, if we are complacent, that moment is going to pass. It will not wait for us. We need to seize the moment,” he said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank.
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In a conversation with Ashley Tellis for a discussion examining these global developments and the future of the relationship between the United States and India, Sandhu said a lot has happened “undoubtedly” between the two countries. “I have two points to make here. First, our strategic partnership has deepened. Second, our overall bilateral partnership has broadened. There is a renewed momentum in our bilateral ties,” he said.
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“If I ask my team to tell me, the number of times President Biden and PM Modi have met, in person and virtually, they hold up their hands! Same with EAM and Secretary Blinken and other ministers too. This is precisely how things are between friends!” Sandhu said. He said the deepening of the strategic and defense ties on the bilateral front has been significant.
Signing of foundational agreements on defense (LEMOA; COMCASA; ISA; BECA). For the first time, a US Ship was repaired in an Indian shipyard. An Indian Ship visited a US port in August, which was also a historical first, the Ambassador said .“We are also actively joining hands in some of the plurilateral platforms. Of course, the Quad has taken off in a big way,” he said, adding that Quad nations are going beyond the G-to-G format.
For example, the Quad Investors’ Network has been announced, Sandhu said. He said India has become a member of the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “We are also working closely under I2U2,” he told the think-tank. There are also some new domains of the partnership, he said. “So widening of the baskets, so to speak. health; energy; tech; space; Education etc. etc.” NASA and ISRO are working on interesting stuff such as helio-physics (to study the sun), human space flight programme, and on NISAR – the RADAR, which will help us better monitor the implications of climate change, Sandhu said.
“We are working closely on counter ransomware, cyber security, advanced telecommunications, 5G and ORAN. We announced a new Initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies-iCET- in May this year. We resolved decades-old market access issues of some agricultural products at the TPF last year,” he said. “You are all well aware of the Covid vaccine partnership. Notwithstanding all the debates, about India’s energy imports, India-US energy partnership is thriving, and touching new areas, such as green hydrogen,” he added.
After the announcement of the National Education Policy, we are looking at new ways of collaboration between Indian and US universities, Sandhu said. “We just had the launch of the India-US CEO Forum yesterday. (Treasury) Secretary (Janet) Yellen is currently in Delhi for the Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue,” he said.