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QUESTION NO.*106 RELATIONSHIP WITH THE US

July 29, 2021

RAJYA SABHA
STARRED QUESTION NO.*106
TO BE ANSWERED ON 29.07.2021

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE US

*106 SHRI REWATI RAMAN SINGH:

Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:

(a) whether India’s relations with the last two US Governments have been cordial;

(b) whether Government has shared any views with the new US Government to reduce China’s influence in the Asia Pacific region; and

(c) if so, the details thereof?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
(DR. SUBRAHMANYAM JAISHANKAR)

(a) to (c) A Statement is laid on the Table of the House.

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STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN REPLY TO PARTS (A) TO (C) OF THE RAJYA SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO. *106 REGARDING ‘RELATIONSHIP WITH THE US’ TO BE ANSWERED ON 29.07.2021

1. Relations between India and the U.S. have seen steady growth and development after 2014. This has extended over three Administrations in the United States. The India-U.S. relationship is today one of the major relationships of the world and there is widespread appreciation of the significance of this relationship and the fundamental convergences therein. The global partnership between the two countries is evident in our common commitment to address contemporary issues such as terrorism, climate change, pandemics, etc.

2. India-U.S. have a comprehensive, strategic and global partnership, based on shared democratic values and convergence of interests on regional and global matters. Our bilateral agenda for cooperation is substantial, multi-faceted and driven by vibrant people to people ties. Both countries engage regularly in a wide-ranging dialogue including at the highest level, on issues of mutual interest.

3. There is currently regular high level engagement with the U.S. Administration led by President Biden. Prime Minister spoke to President Biden thrice and participated in the Quad Leaders and Climate Leaders’ virtual Summits chaired by President Biden this year, in March and April respectively. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have visited India. I was in Washington D.C. in May for a comprehensive interaction with the U.S. leadership, members of the Congress and other stakeholders.

4. The key priorities of India-U.S. relations include healthcare and COVID-19 response, digital innovation ecosystem, energy including renewables, knowledge and education partnership; and strategic and defense collaborations.

5. Healthcare has emerged as an important sector of collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic. India’s timely supply of critical medicines and protective gear to the U.S. last year was well received. The U.S. Government and private sector deployed substantial consignments of critical medicines and oxygen related equipment for combating second wave of COVID-19 in India.

6. The renewal of the "New Framework for India-US Defence Cooperation” for a period of ten years in 2015, the designation of India as a Major Defence Partner (MDP) in 2016, signing of foundational defence agreements, regular engagement between the respective defence forces through exercises and other activities has resulted in defence collaboration becoming an important pillar of the bilateral relationship.

7. India and the U.S. stand united in addressing the global scourge of terrorism, inter alia by opposing terrorist safe havens, countering terror financing, and strengthening cooperation against terrorist threats from groups, including those in our immediate neighbourhood. There are regular consultations on domestic and international terrorist designations listing proposals.

8. As global non-proliferation partners, the U.S. has expressed strong support for India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and has supported India’s accession into the MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. The U.S. also supports India’s permanent membership on a reformed U.N. Security Council.

9. The rapidly expanding commercial and economic linkages form an important component of the multi-faceted partnership between India and the United States. The U.S. is among India’s largest trading partners and a major destination for our exports of goods and services, with the balance of trade in India’s favour. Bilateral trade in goods and services has been estimated by US Department of Commerce at US$ 146 billion in 2019.

10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joseph Biden launched the India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership in April 2021, which envisages bilateral cooperation on strong actions in the current decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Partnership will proceed along two tracks of the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership and the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue, and will aim to mobilize finance and speed clean energy deployment; demonstrate and scale innovative clean technologies needed to decarbonize sectors including industry, transportation, power, and buildings; and build capacity to measure, manage, and adapt to the risks of climate-related impacts.

11. The Indian community in the U.S. is approximately 4.2 million (approximately 3.18 Indian-origin persons and 1.02 million Indian nationals) and has played a proactive role in building bridges of friendship between the two countries. Their successes and contributions are source of strength for both nations.

12. Mobility of Indian professionals and students is mutually beneficial and enables flow of knowledge, innovation and talent. With nearly 200,000 students pursuing higher education, the U.S. is one of the most favoured foreign destinations for our students.

13. India and the U.S. have the shared objective of ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of all countries in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. In 2015, both countries had outlined a Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region which calls upon all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

14. To this end, India and the U.S. are committed to respecting freedom of navigation, overflight, and commerce throughout the region and the need to resolve territorial and maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law; support bolstering regional economic connectivity through the transparent development of infrastructure and the use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment.

15. India and the U.S. also work together under the aegis of the Quad framework, where partners are discussing issues pertaining to maritime security, cyber security, counter-terrorism, resilient supply chains, Covid-19 vaccines, critical & emerging technology, connectivity and infrastructure, climate action and Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief. Under the Quad mechanism, Foreign Ministers have met thrice so far. Prime Minister also participated in the first Quad Leaders’ Summit held virtually in March 2021.

16. India and the U.S. have several bilateral dialogue mechanisms for exchange of views on issues of mutual interest. Many such dialogues are held at the Ministerial-level including the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, Trade Policy Forum, Commercial Dialogue and the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership. The dialogues at the official level include Defense Policy Group, Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism, Designations Dialogue, Counternarcotics Working Group, Intellectual Property Working Group and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group, among others.

17. India-U.S. relations are on a strong footing, given the deep rooted cooperation, shared values and interests. The leadership in both countries is committed to consolidating the relationship and global partnership in the coming years.

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