Indo-US Relation after the cold war till now

In the name of GOD

 “[The] great problem of the near future will be American imperialism, even more than British imperialism [A]”

“India is today embarked on a journey inspired by many dreams. We welcome having America by our side. There is much we can accomplish together [B].”

 US-India relation has been never cut during the cold war but it had so many bad events for both side; but this relation flourished during last two decade. 1990s and 2000s was full of events that lifted Indo-US relation from being in two deferent rivalry fronts, to a strategic partnership level.

India made itself ready for the Post-USSR collapsing era, in early 1990s, by opening its economy to western capital, by adopting an important reform in its privet foreign capital acceptance regime; so a kind of liberalizing policies in economy started by this time; the reforms happened when India had been faced with big economic crises internally and they were observing the signals of USSR collapsing, externally. So it was a considerable step and opportunity for Indian side, toward revising and adjusting its relation with western bloc, to finding a way to strategic relationship with them, especially correcting its strategic imbalance with the United States who was the monologue player in world matters. This revolutionary economic movement were welcomed by west side and at the top of them the USA; US also used this capacity to enter India is a mechanism that will use in maintaining balance in south Asia and farther Asia, with China; and this move evaluated as new paradigm that will have “an impact on the future strategic environment in the Asia–Pacific region [C]”.  

 As result of this move and reform, world FDI had chosen India as its destination and it start with $162 million in 1992 and increased to $2.14 billion in 1997; a 13-fold jumps just during 5 years [D]. It is noticeable that more than one-third of these investments were by U.S companies [E]. In political field also, the Bharatiya Janata Party's election manifesto was evaluated non-alignment as an outdated ideology and it was also a good signal for US in this regard from India opposition side in 1991. The hope for Indo-US relation raised and developed enough, the nuclear test by India in 1998 faced with the US several kinds of sanctions; But the two countries had footed on the way that even this act by India cannot bring to an end the process; so in march 2000 after two years, US-President Clinton visited India; the trip that were happened after 22 years, at the time that the right wing (BJP) were on the power.

Later on, India’s supporting President Bush's controversial nuclear missile defense initiative, made this two, closer and as the terrorist attack to US happened on the II September 2001, quick India’s offer full operational support to US war against terrorism, boosted their relation so fast that as reaction US government by 22 September, had lifted all sanctions against India that imposed from 1998 nuclear test; and its suspended bilateral defense policy group since 1998, was revived towards the end of 2001.

Kargil war in 1999 and US some help to Pakistani back forces withdrawing satisfied India and in somehow without war they return back their territories and the potential of another war is reduced.   A terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001, and the US’s pressured on Pakistan into a commitment on reduction cross-border terrorism in India was another factor in this regard to boost this movement forward. So September the eleven, 2001 made “security” as joint concern of the two countries; and they felled themselves with the same threat in this view. Their security relations with a focus on military-to-military contacts, counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation, and defense trade [f] became a focused chapter after that.

Later on the two countries also put a signature on the bottoms of a 10-year defense framework agreement in 2005 to facilitate expanded bilateral security cooperation. In the new century, large-scale combined military exercises have become commonplace, and opening US-FBI office in India increase the intelligence cooperation in south Asia. Military cooperation in the Indian Ocean leads two countries to have joint bilateral and multilateral marine exercise that the Malabar is one of them that the 12th series is done in 2012. U.S. arms sales to  India also started and now is underway so U.S. sales of military equipment to India had grown from zero in 2008 to around $8 billion in 2012; India as the world's largest arms importer, plans to spend about $100 billion during the next decade to upgrading its military equipments [g]; hence a positive trends can be seen and predict in bilateral security-related activities [H]. Among the defense-related pacts Washington has sought to conclude with New Delhi is the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which would permit the armed forces of both countries to enjoy reciprocal use of facilities for maintenance, servicing, communications, refueling, and medical care [I]. The agreement that till now was not be achieved.

 In 2002 the US initiated a regional security dialogue with India that pointed following shared interests in India's subcontinent, including the civil war in Sri Lanka, stability in Bangladesh and reconstructing Afghanistan; Terrorist’s attacks to Indian and the US attacking to Afghanistan make them closer and closer; and although India didn’t respond to all US invitation to help her in Iraq Invasion that India never send any force to Iraq, but also criticized the US for this action; in the case of Afghanistan India support US presentation there and evaluated it in its strategic interest in south and central Asia. Some theory speak of the different in Indo-US relation before  and after CW, they say during CW third party factor like Pakistan had heavy shadow on the two countries relationship but in post-CW time Indo-US bilateral  relation has less influenced by other factors like that. But in real evaluation of the US policy during the two paradigms is show that the US just follow its goal by its partners. During CW they follow controlling USSR by using Pakistan capacity and now the US is seeking its policy toward China by using India’s capacity. “In recent years, the United States has begun to revise its stance toward India in response to the emergence of China as a major Asian power and its rising influence in South Asia [J]” so even now third factor in US policies in south Asia is the same as CW time with this difference that at CW time it just were with on side but now the US play with all side and at the same time they are engaging with Pakistan and India and China together.

 September the 11 changed the US policy and approach toward the most world trend and its relation dynamics; and India was one of them. The two countries decide to bring military cooperation like joint military exercise and other mutual cooperation in this regard to deeper level. Bilateral and multilateral action that is going on in between India and US and its allies in Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, Pacific Ocean… in maritime field and others kind of military activities in others levels are the result of this decision; But The US emphasizes on maritime security; at the time that India focuses on territorial defense [K].

On the side of Indo-US agreement on India nuclear issue; in July 2005, the two countries announced the most wide-ranging partnership in the history of their bilateral relations, covering the economy, energy security, democracy promotion, defense cooperation, and high technology and space cooperation. The most controversial aspect of the agreement was Bush's commitment to "work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India [L]." the country that never sign the NPT and had nuclear tests.

 Opening new era of relation and 21th century’s situation bring some optimism about the two countries relation. Welcoming Eastern religion and philosophy by the materialistic US people approaches; and the expansion of Buddhism and Hinduism there; and also growing economical as well as cultural, educational, military relation between them and also revised US way of looking to the Asian problem… show that India and the US step to new era of cooperation.

 Large-rising number of Indian who is living in US; who are activated by Indian Government to make a big lobby like Irish Catholic or Jew lobbies in US is a capacity that India can use to follow its goals. The Indo-US relation development shows a horizon that characterized it as strategic event. It has many-sided and extends well beyond traditional inter-governmental interaction. Three different components of this relationship, people-to-people ties, business-to-business relations and government-to-government interaction, have had independent course in the past, but may now be converging. At this time private sector also was ready to play its roles. Despite of ups and downs in political situation between two countries People to people relation were boosted and India post-Independent era show large scale of Indian who emigrate to US. This was US policy toward India that in the absent of inter-governmental relation people to people side stay activate and so large number of Indian people allowed to be in US in CW era and it boosted now even.

US-India relation expansion followed by US allies to expand their relation with India “US acceptance of India as a responsible player in the region implies that Australia needs to expand its strategic outlook to include India and the Eastern Indian Ocean region” [M].

 Apart from all India-US problems, bilateral relationship was improving during last two decade and through their leaders’ trips to each country they have considerable steps to closeness, and on the top was the George W. Bush’s trip to India in 2005 they signed a significant agreement in nuclear field that was a new start in their relationship and till now they are engaging to implement this treaty. Hard duty that the two sides were accepted to do, make some obstacles to fulfill the job by the two sides till now. So in some field like on going restrictions on imports of dual-use technology from the US, a lack of progress on liberalizing foreign direct investment in the Indian retail sector, and the imposition of investment  caps in the Indian banking and insurance sectors and include Importing high-Tec to India are the field that have problem till now. Indo-US expansion made India as strategic partner right now for US not as ally. A "Strategic Dialogue" was established in July 2009 during the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India with the objective of strengthening bilateral cooperation across diverse sectors. The first round of the Strategic Dialogue was held in Washington in June 2010, followed by the second round in New Delhi in July 2011 [N]. Major areas of cooperation:

a)    Trade and Economic Relations

b)    Bilateral Investments

c)     Clean Energy and Climate Change Initiative

d)    Counter-terrorism Cooperation

e)    Defence Cooperation

f)      Civil Nuclear Initiative

g)    Space Cooperation

h)    Education sector

i)      Cooperation in Science & Technology

j)      Cooperation in the Health Sector

k)     Cultural cooperation

l)      Indian Press

m)  People-to-people ties


Indo-US relation from the last decade of 20th century till now, entered in new paradigm that its character was improving and most of the events in both side always help them to became closer but the problem is, that US policy in Asia has been changed during this two decade and the Indian weight were different in the different US government that come during these two last decades.


A)   Jawaharlal Nehru, "Report to the all-India congress committee on the international congress against imperialism held at Brussels in February 1927," in Bimla Prasad, The Origins of Indian Foreign Policy: The Indian National Congress and World Affairs, 1885- 1947 (Mumbai: Bookland, 1960), appendix I, 265

B)    Manmohan Singh, "Address to the joint session of the United States congress," Washington, DC, 19 July 2005," reproduced in Seminar 560, April 2006.

C)    Article “India–US Relations in a Changing Strategic Environment” available in internet address,

D)   "FDI in India statistics," Ministry of Commerce and Industry, industrial policy and promotion, government of India,

E)    -  “India-U.S.Relations”   byPeter R. Blood (Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division)  Updated March 8, 2002

f)    India-U.S. Security Relations: Current Engagement” – by K. Alan Kronstadt (Specialist in South Asian Affairs) and Sonia Pinto (Research Associate) - November 13, 2012 - Congressional Research Service.

G)   Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs- WASHINGTON | Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:48am IST - WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

H)   India-U.S. Security Relations: Current Engagement” – by K. Alan Kronstadt (Specialist in South Asian Affairs) and Sonia Pinto (Research Associate) - November 13, 2012 - Congressional Research Service.

I)      India-U.S. Security Relations: Current Engagement” – by K. Alan Kronstadt (Specialist in South Asian Affairs) and Sonia Pinto (Research Associate) - November 13, 2012 - Congressional Research Service.

J)     U.S.-India Initiative Series - The Strategic Implications of Indo-U.S. Private-Sector Ties - By Rajiv Kumar (the Director general of the Federation  of Indian Chambers of Commerce and industry)

K)    India-US Relation: Progress Amidst limited Convergence – published in CSS Analysis in Security Policy - No. 117 • July 2012

L)     "Joint statement between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," White House, 18 July 2005.

M) Article “India–US Relations in a Changing Strategic Environment” available in internet address,

N)   “India - United States of America Relations” - March 2۰01

Course : “India foreign Policy”

 by:   Dr. Mandana Tishehyar    

Provider: Seyed Mostafa Mostafavi

 MA student in subcontinent studies

 Faculty of world studies

 University of Tehran




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