The US-India partnership and its impacts on the region


The Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah along with 200 Afghan traders, civil activists, journalists and government officials traveled to India and met the Indian Prime Minister and other high-ranking Indian officials.

The Afghan Chief Executive signed the agreement of training the Afghan police with the Indian officials. Moreover, the two sides also signed an agreement of cooperation in areas of technical and improved training of the Afghan forces.

In the new US strategy towards South Asia and Afghanistan, there is a significant role for India in Afghanistan, and Washington has asked India to increase its investments in Afghanistan that is why India pledged to start 116 projects in 31 provinces of the country.

In the meanwhile, the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis also traveled to India last week and then along with the Secretary-General of NATO came to Afghanistan on an unexpected trip. After the announcement of the new US strategy, Mattis is the first American senior official that travels to India. During this voyage, the Indian Minister of Defense rejected the rumors about sending Indian troops to Afghanistan and said, “No Indian soldier will step on the Afghan soil.”

Here you would read about the impacts of the close American-India ties and interests.


The Indo-American interests in the region

Since 2000, the US is extending its relations with India in order to prevent the rise of China in South Asia. These relations expanded during the Presidency of Barrack Obama in the US.

India, on the other hand, wants to put aside its traditional policy and join the US bloc because India sees China as a bigger threat than Pakistan.

India and the US, to a greater extent, share many interests in South Asia and particularly in Afghanistan; however, there exist areas where the interests of the two countries stand against each other. The common points are the fighting against extremism, strengthening the Afghan government, and preventing the rise of China. The points of opposition are the Chabahar agreement with Iran, peace talks with the Taliban and their inclusion in the Afghan government.

The Trump administration realizes India’s role in the region and, to a greater extent, believes the strategy and interests of India to be in coordination with that of the US that is why Washington wants to increase India’s role in Afghanistan without considering Pakistan’s concerns.

On the other hand, Pakistan is concerned about Trump’s strategy that is why the Pakistani Prime Minister said in the US that India could have economic and trade ties with Afghanistan, but they would never allow India to play political and security role in this country.

Although, after the Congress government in India, the government of Narendra Modi does not care about Pakistan’s sensibility in the affairs of Afghanistan, the fact that India does not want to deploy troops in Afghanistan means that India takes Pakistan’s sensibilities into consideration, and it also means that the US has once again failed to convince India to have military presence in Afghanistan.


The US-India ties

In 2014, the former US President Barrack Obama announced to rebalance Asia. Some Chinese believes this policy to be an effort to encircle China because they say that balancing Asia means to raise India, Japan, and some other countries against China. Due to this policy, the trade and defense ties between India and the US are increasing day after day.

On the other hand, after Narendra Modi came to power in India, the US-India relations have entered a new phase. Since 2014, Modi has visited the US for four times (twice to attend international conferences and twice to officially visit the US). Moreover, in 2016 Obama was invited to India’s Republic Day Parade and Obama was the first US President to attend this ceremony in the history. During his tenure, Obama had traveled to India twice.

One new phase of regional politics started at the time when the Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar visited the US and met his American counterpart, Ashton Carter. It was the second trip of Indian Minister of Defense to the US and his sixth meeting with the US Secretary of Defense in 2016. In the recent meeting, the two sides signed the controversial military-logistic agreement which faced opposition within India. Based on this agreement, the two countries would use each other’s soil, water, and air in case it was needed, yet to calm voices raised in India, the US Secretary of Defense said in a press conference, “The agreement does not mean that we would have military bases on each other’s soils.”

Relations between the two countries have further expanded in Trump’s Presidency. In fact, the ties between Washington and New Delhi are now taking the form of a coalition which would mainly threaten China and Pakistan.

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