Rajasthan-based research and advocacy organisation ‘CUTS International’ has opened its sixth overseas centre in Washington DC, becoming the first Indian think-tank to have its centre in the United States. Secretary general of ‘CUTS International’, Pradeep S Mehta described the opening of the Washington DC chapter as a reflection of the increasing India-US strategic partnership.
“CUTS International presents a vision of bringing together US, India, Australian, Japanese, and other stakeholders to find evidence-based solutions to collective challenges and facilitate forward positive movement toward a prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific region,” Mehta said.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells, who was present at the inaugural event said the event showed “the tremendous growth in our economic and security ties”.
“The strength of the Indo-Pacific region is the connection of its people, its economies, and its cultures,” said Wells.
The Deputy Indian Ambassador to the US, Santosh Jha said the US was “a partner of choice” for India.
“Overall the relationship extends not just in the bilateral domain but in to the regional as well as going beyond in the global domain,” said Jha.
“There are a number of stories about what we do together and how that impacts among other things global health for example,” he said.
Welcoming the launch, president of US India Business Council (USIBC) Nisha Desai Biswal said it was trying to bring the power of private capital into that Indo-Pacific frame.
“(The private capital will).. leverage the kind of financing that is going to help bring the infrastructure connectivity, which will then give power to that larger Indo-Pacific conversions, allow trade and commerce and allow security to really flow from that,” said Biswal.
Mukesh Aghi, president of US India Strategic and Partnership Forum, said there was a “tremendous opportunity” for both India and the US between whom a very strong ecosystem was being built.
“What we are seeing is India opening up more and more to US companies both in domestic and also in defense environment. The new policy and defence which has been announced up to 75 per cent equity immediately into the defense companies and on exception basis, almost 100 per cent,” he said. Aghi said that a major cause of friction between India and the US in future could be the threat of new tariff being put in place.
“Threat of CAATSA is going to be a major cause of friction between India and the US. So we need to early on work on both sides of the border to ensure that these frictions don’t come in while each country decides on its defence needs and also the policy on the tariff side,” Aghi said.