Prominent leaders of our freedom movement had friendly relations with the US which continued well after independence. After Independece, the graph of relations between US and India has never been stable until 1991. The relations between the worlds two largest democracies have been over shadowed in the past by a number of factors like, entry of Pakistan into US led SEATO in 1954 and Baghdad Port in 1955, which in turn led to India developing strategic relations with USSR.
In 1961 India became a founding member of the NAM (Non-Alligned Movement) to avoid involvement in the Cold War between US and USSR. Thich led to strong relations with USSR and weak bonding with USA. But Nixon administration support of Pakistan during the 1965 Indo-Pak war affected relations drastically, which continued till the dissolution of Soviet Union in 1991. But after the fall of USSR, India’s LPG reforms led to closer relations between both nations.
In 1990’s India adopted to the unipolar world and sarted developing close ties with the US. Under the presidentship of George W Bush and Barack Obama, the United States showed some accommodation to India’s core interest and acknowledge its concerns. These included increase in bilateral trade, investment adn cooperation on global security matters, representation in forums like UN, IMF, World Bank, admission to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and support for admission to nuclear supplier group.
Meanwhile, two important events that is Civil Nuclear Deal in 2008 and signing of Logistics Exchange Agreement were of great significance for closer ties between the two countries. And in past years there has been a significant increase in bilateral trade and business between the two countries. But India’s rising stature in global politics couldn’t keep USA away from India. Since then the graph of Indo-US relations has been moving up.The relations were more strengthened after President Donald Trumph took over the office. Bilateral visits by the leaders of both countries as well as top government officials are proof of a healthy and growing relationship. We also cannot ignore the fact that the common aim of both nations to solve the problem of terrorism, has also led to closer military ties between both nations.
Impact of Covid 19
Covid-19 has not only created worries for the nations economically but also practically. But it has been a boon to the relations to the world’s oldest and largest democracy. It is an opportunity through crisis for both nations.
In 2019, with the emphasis on Atmanirbhar Bharat, this new policy was not liked by US as according to them it portrayed protectionism and was considered negative for the globalised world. Fearing this USA penalized by withdrawing the trade provileges enjoyed by India. Though it was later said by India that Atmanirbhar Bharat was not about protectionism but to develop India’s internal economy.
But after COVID-19 turned into a global pandemic, both countries realized that following such isolationist policies won’t help. One such case was India’s support of Hydroxychloroquine tablets during COVID-19. Both countries have been closely working on developing the vaccine. Bharat Biotech has collaborated with America Pharma company to make vaccines. The doubt that the virus started in China’s Wuhan laboratory and spread all over the world and the Chinese did not disclose at an earlier stage brought other nations together.
Overall when we talk about Indo-US relations, pandemic has acted as a boon for the relations. Before COVID-19 dark cloud of protectionism were hovering over the relations of these nations. Pandemic has made them realize that both countries do need each other. US has realized the importance of the Rising Asian Elephant India.