Trade and Security: The Two Sides of US-Indian Relations

New Delhi is a valuable partner to Washington on one but not the other.

Allison Fedirka |August 14, 2018

The U.S. and India will have no shortage of topics to discuss during the first joint meeting of their foreign and defense ministers scheduled for Sept. 6 in New Delhi. Over the past year, the two countries have disagreed on several issues related to security and trade. India plays a key role in the United States’ current strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, but some of Washington’s recent moves, including pulling back from its global commitments, placing sanctions on Russia and Iran, and levying new tariffs on a host of goods, are incompatible with India’s interests. The U.S. doesn’t want to risk alienating India, so it will try to find accommodations for New Delhi on security matters. But on trade, the two countries are more likely to be at odds. The U.S. has so much leverage over India that it doesn’t really need to compromise.

Security Cooperation

For the U.S., India’s strategic value in the Indo-Pacific stems from its proximity to China and its potential to take

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