Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 11 June 2024

From warps speed to reset the state of India-US ties

Relevance: GS Paper II

Why in news? 

The state of India-U.S. relations presents a dynamic tapestry of achievements, challenges, and potential pitfalls, reflecting the complex nature of modern diplomatic engagements. 

More about the news: 

  • Over the past year, since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States, where promising initiatives like the iCET (India-U.S. initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology) were unveiled, the relationship has encountered a mix of successes and setbacks, shaping its current trajectory. 
  • At the outset, it's essential to acknowledge the significant strides made in bilateral cooperation. 
  • The past quarter-century has witnessed a remarkable turnaround in India-U.S. ties, catalyzed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visionary speech at the Asia Society in 1998, recognizing India and the U.S. as "natural allies." This foundational sentiment has since blossomed into a multifaceted partnership, spanning domains such as climate change, green energy, technology, and defense.

Key Points:

Positive Developments:

  • Strategic Trust Building: Over the past decade, there has been significant growth in strategic trust between India and the U.S., marked by foundational agreements, military exercises, and cooperation on various fronts.
  • Alignment on Global Issues: Both countries have found common ground on several international issues, including climate change, counterterrorism, and shared concerns over China's aggressive actions.
  • Bilateral Engagement: Despite challenges, bilateral engagement between India and the U.S. has been thriving, with ongoing official-level conversations and dialogues in various spheres.

China Factor: 

  • Chinese Action: Concerns over China's actions in the Indo-Pacific have impacted India-U.S. collaboration within the Quad, with logistical challenges hindering engagements. President Biden's refusal to attend India's Republic Day in 2024 resulted in the postponement of the Quad Summit, further compounded by canceled visits by key U.S. officials like National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. This disruption also affected initiatives like the iCET review and led to a shift towards "Quad-Plus" meetings with other regional partners. 

Areas of Concern:

  • Multilateral Cooperation: There have been challenges in multilateral cooperation, particularly concerning differing perspectives on global conflicts like Russia's war in Ukraine and the Israel-Palestine issue.
  • Logistical Issues: Some setbacks in cooperation, such as the cancellation of visits and summits due to logistical reasons, have affected the pace of engagement, especially in forums like the Quad.
  • Diplomatic Strains: Tensions have emerged due to diplomatic incidents, including strained relations between Indian and U.S. ambassadors, as well as disagreements over human rights and democracy.

Outstanding Issues:

  • Allegations and Investigations: The alleged involvement of Indian security officials in the attempted assassination of Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the U.S. has strained relations and remains an unresolved issue.
  • Trial Proceedings: The upcoming trial in New York and potential involvement of Indian officials in the plot may further escalate tensions and impact the bilateral relationship.
  • Political Uncertainty: The changing political landscape in both countries, including coalition dynamics in India and the potential for a Trump presidency in the U.S., adds further complexity to the relationship.

Way Forward:

  • Leadership Engagement: High-level engagement, such as the upcoming meeting between the Indian Prime Minister and the U.S President, as well as diplomatic visits, is crucial for reinvigorating the relationship.
  • Issue Resolution: Addressing outstanding issues, including diplomatic strains and ongoing investigations, will be essential for building trust and cooperation.
  • Strengthening Cooperation: Both countries need to focus on areas of mutual interest and strengthen cooperation in strategic, economic, and technological domains to overcome challenges and realize the full potential of their partnership.


The state of India-U.S. ties embodies a tale of resilience, adaptability, and aspiration. While the relationship has experienced remarkable growth and collaboration, it also confronts formidable obstacles and divergent interests. Navigating these complexities demands a nuanced approach, grounded in shared values, mutual respect, and a commitment to constructive dialogue. As both nations strive to realize their shared vision of a more prosperous and secure world, the journey from "warp speed" to recalibration underscores the evolving nature of diplomatic engagement in the 21st century.

Beyond Editorial

iCET (India-U.S. initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology)

  • The Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies is a framework agreed upon by India and the U.S. for cooperation on critical and emerging technologies in areas including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, semiconductors and wireless telecommunication.
  • It was launched in January 2023 to strengthen their strategic partnership and drive technology and defence cooperation.
  • Mr. Modi and Mr. Biden first announced the framework on the sidelines of the Quad meeting in Tokyo in May 2022.
  • Primarily, the iCET seeks to position New Delhi and Washington D.C. as “trusted technology partners” to build supply chains and support the co-production and co-development of items.
  • India and the U.S. signed an MoU on establishing a semiconductor supply chain that paved the way for creating a semiconductor sub-committee to review recommendations from an industry-led task force launched in connection with the iCET. 

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