Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a report describing the key issues that will be discussed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama this Friday at the White House. During the meeting, President Obama and Prime Minister Singh will likely focus on the following six issues in the U.S.-India relationship:
- Trade and investment
- Defense cooperation
- The U.S.-India civil nuclear deal
- Climate change and clean energy
- Immigration reform
- Security issues and the strategic partnership
For the Obama administration, underlying these discussions will be the unmet expectations of the U.S.-India relationship, a relationship envisioned as the cornerstone of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Many U.S. policymakers have been disappointed by the lack of progress in advancing key objectives for the relationship. The Obama administration seeks a robust trade and investment partnership; a deepened security and strategic partnership in the Asia-Pacific; the implementation of the civil nuclear deal; more cooperation on reducing climate change; and greater cooperation on clean energy production. The Indian government will likely raise India’s key concerns regarding the cumbersome U.S. export control system, proposed H-1B visa legislation in the immigration reform bill, and the U.S. military drawdown in Afghanistan.
“Given the increasing convergence of interests and shared values between the United States and India, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama should focus on reaching an agreement on a few key areas to undergird the U.S.-India relationship in the economic, defense, and energy spheres,” said Caroline Wadhams, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and coauthor of today’s report. “With India’s upcoming elections in May 2014 and U.S. congressional deadlock, reaching an agreement won’t be easy, but the two leaders can ensure that the partnership stays on the right track, setting the foundation for larger wins in the future.”
The leaders should work on advancing the bilateral investment treaty for the trade partnership; determining projects for co-development and co-production in the defense arena; addressing concerns around India’s liability laws to facilitate the civil nuclear deal’s implementation; and securing India’s agreement to phase down hydrofluorocarbons using the Montreal Protocol. Both India and the United States stand to benefit substantially from a strengthened economic, defensive, and strategic partnership. Prime Minister Singh and President Obama’s meeting will be crucial in defining the path forward for the partnership.
Read the report: What to Expect from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s U.S. Visit by Caroline Wadhams and Aarthi Gunasekaran
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