US president Barack Obama and Indian PM Narendra Modi have come together for talks in the White House this week in a bid to strengthen strategic ties.
India and the US see each other as strategically important – one is among the world’s emerging economic powerhouses, the other has the planet’s largest economy.
So when the leaders of the two countries finally met in person to begin a series of talks this week, it was clear Barack Obama and Narendra Modi would be focusing on strengthening the relationship between their nations.
Expected to cover a wide range of economic and security issues during their meetings, the president and prime minister are focusing their efforts on re-establishing the ties between their nations.
Trade, investment, defence and clean energy are all likely to have appeared on the agenda. In addition, New Delhi’s “Clean India” initiative, aimed at improving sanitation and hygiene conditions, is a promising focal point for US assistance.
Commentators have been suggesting the US and India have grown apart over the past few years, but a joint op-edon The Washington Post website that was completed during Mr Modi’s visit makes clear their intentions. It is “time to set a new agenda” for US-India co-operation.
“This will be an agenda that enables us to find mutually rewarding ways to expand our collaboration in trade, investment and technology that harmonise with India’s ambitious development agenda, while sustaining the United States as the global engine of growth,” they write.
India is very much on the campaign trail at the moment, having recently announced a wave of economic reforms and the Make in India initiative.
The initiative is planning on reducing the regulatory and financial burdens associated with doing business in India to encourage foreign investment and give the manufacturing industry a shot in the arm.
With concerns about slowing growth on the rise and mounting trade and current account deficits, it makes sense that India is seeking to forge stronger relationships with what could potentially be a major trading partner. Although India and the US have a history of buying and selling from and to each other, both are massive markets with plenty of opportunities for exporters. As two days of talks give way to a longer-term relationship, it is likely those bonds will deepen.
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