IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th January, 2023 International Relations

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Context: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal visited Washington D.C. to participate in the 13th Ministerial Meeting of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum.


Highlights of the 13th India – USA TPF 2023 discussions are as follows:

  • Ministers appreciated that bilateral trade in goods and services continued to rise rapidly and reached about $160 billion in 2021 while recognizing that significant potential remains unfulfilled and expressed their mutual desire to further enhance engagement with the goal of continuing to increase and diversify bilateral trade.
  • The Ministers welcomed the intensified negotiations so far and further engagement on outstanding WTO disputes between the two countries to arrive at satisfactory outcomes in the coming months.
  • India appreciated the resumption of inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and asked the U.S. side to also resume inspections of new facilities and non-priority areas at the earliest.
  • The Ministers welcomed the finalization of the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) design. export of wild-caught shrimp.
  • India highlighted its interest in the restoration of its beneficiary status under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences program.  The United States noted that this could be considered, as warranted, in relation to the eligibility criteria determined by the U.S. Congress.
  • The Ministers acknowledged the constructive engagement of the Services Working Group under the Trade Policy Forum.
  • The Ministers acknowledged the ongoing discussions on a Social Security totalization agreement and supported intensifying the work to achieve early outcomes in the matter.
  • They encouraged their regulatory bodies to engage in discussions on exchanges of knowledge, capacity building, and recognition of qualifications to further enhance trade in professional services.
  • The Ministers launched a new working group on “Resilient Trade” to deepen bilateral dialogue on a range of issues.
  • Both Ministers also looked forward to working together to strengthen resilience in global supply chains.

Recent developments:

  • As vibrant democracies, both India and USA are natural partners and have trade complementarities, long-standing strategic and economic relationship, and people-to-people contact.
  • The two countries are also collaborating under the QUAD, I2U2 (India-Israel/ UAE-USA) and IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework).
  • Regular exchanges at the leadership level have been an integral element of the expanding bilateral engagement.
  • The outcomes emerging from these visits have been instrumental in further strengthening the multifaceted ties between the two countries.

Bilateral engagement between India and the U.S.:

High-level dialogue mechanisms between India-U.S.:

India and the U.S. have more than 50 bilateral inter-governmental dialogue mechanisms for the exchange of views on issues of mutual interest. A number of such dialogue mechanisms are held at the Ministerial level including:

  • India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue: India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is led by the heads of foreign and defence ministries of India and the U.S. Two rounds of this Dialogue have been held so far.
  • India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue: The India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue is led by the Minister of Commerce and Industry (CIM) and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
  • India – U.S. Economic and Financial Partnership: India – U.S. Economic and Financial Partnership is led by the Finance Minister (FM) and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
  • India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum: The India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum is led by CIM and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
  • India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership: The India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership is led by the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
  • India-U.S. Homeland Security Dialogue (HSD): The India-U.S. Homeland Security Dialogue is led by the Minister of Home Affairs and the Secretary, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security


  • Defence relationship has emerged as a major pillar of India- U.S. strategic partnership with intensification in defence trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy.
  • India conducts more bilateral exercises with the U.S. than with any other country. Some important bilateral exercises are: Yudh Abhyas, Vajra Prahar, Tarkash, Tiger Triumph, and Cope India.
  • Aggregate worth of defense-related acquisitions from the U.S. is more than US$ 15 billion.
  • The India-U.S. Defence Technology and Trade Initiative(DTTI) is aimed at promoting co-development and co-production efforts.
  • In June 2016, the U.S. recognized India as a "Major Defence Partner", which commits the U.S. to facilitate technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
  • The announcement of India’s elevation to Tier I of the Strategic Trade Authorization (STA)license exception will further contribute towards facilitating interaction in advanced and sensitive technologies.
  • Apart from the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, some other important dialogue mechanisms on defence cooperation are: Defence Policy Group, Military Cooperation Group, Defense Technology and Trade Initiative etc.

Counter-terrorism and internal security:

  • The bilateral Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism is an important mechanism in this regard.
  • Both sides have also been working together in law- enforcement and security cooperation through the six subgroups under the HSD.
  • Apart from the above, both sides also cooperate with each other on counter-terrorism and security issues in various multilateral bodies.
  • Cyber security cooperation between India and the U.S. is carried out under the India-U.S. Cyber Framework.
  • The two important dialogue mechanisms in this domain are – India-U.S. Cyber Security Dialogue and the India-U.S. Joint Working Group on ICT.

Trade and Economic:

  • The U.S. is India’s largest trading partner, goods and services combined.
  • Bilateral trade in goods and services grew by more than 10% per annum over the past two years to reach US$ 142 billion in 2018.
  • India’s goods exports to the U.S. were valued at US$ 54 billion and India’s goods imports from the U.S. were valued at US$ 33 billion.
  • India’s services exports to the U.S. were valued at US$ 28.7 billion and India’s imports of services from the U.S. were valued at US $ 25.8 billion.
  • direct investments in India are estimated at about US$ 44.5 billion whereas Indian FDI in the U.S. is estimated at US$ 18 billion.


  • The U.S. has emerged as a key partner for India in the field of energy.
  • The bilateral Strategic Energy Partnership launched in 2018 is robust and witnessing increasing diversification across both conventional and renewable energy sources.
  • An India-U.S. Natural Gas Task Force was also created.
  • India has started importing crude and LNG from the U.S. from 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Civil Nuclear Cooperation:

  • The bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in October 2008.
  • India and the U.S. have a Civil Nuclear Energy Working group on R&D activities.
  • A U.S. company - Westinghouse is in discussions with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)for the implementation of a project that envisages six AP 1000 reactors at Kovvada (A.P.).


  • The multi-faceted cooperation between India and the U.S. in the field of Science and Technology has been growing steadily under the framework of the India-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement signed in 2005, and renewed in 2019.
  • The Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Forum was established to promote cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation.
  • Both countries also have a long history of cooperation in civil space arena that includes cooperation in earth observation, satellite navigation, and space science and exploration.
  • The India-U.S Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation regularly reviews the status of cooperation and identifies new areas for furthering space cooperation.
  • ISRO and NASA are also working towards intensifying cooperation in Mars exploration, heliophysics, and human spaceflight through relevant working groups between both sides.

Indian Diaspora:

  • The number of Indians and Indian Americans in the U.S. is estimated at around 4 million, which accounts for almost 1% of the total U.S. population.
  • It includes a large number of professionals, entrepreneurs and educationists with considerable and increasing influence in U.S. polity, economy and the society.
  • US is one of the most favored destinations by Indian students for higher education. More than 200,000 Indian students are currently pursuing various courses in the U.S.

Four foundational agreements:

  1. GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement):It guaranteed that the two countries would protect any classified information or technology that they shared. It was aimed at promoting interoperability and laid the foundation for future US arms sales to the country.
  2. LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement):LEMOA allows the militaries of the US and India to replenish from each other’s bases, and access supplies, spare parts and services from each other’s land facilities, air bases, and ports, which can then be reimbursed.
  3. COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement):The pact allows the US to provide India with its encrypted communications equipment and systems so that Indian and US military commanders, aircraft and ships, can communicate through secure networks during both peace and war.
  4. BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement):facilitates the provision of targeting and navigation information from US systems.