An influential bipartisan US Congressional group has said that neither the Indian government’s “rhetoric” nor America’s bilateral engagement with it has been able to cause substantial economic reforms in India.
In a brief report on India, the Congressional Research Service said, “Two years into the Modi administration, many US policymakers and stakeholders are concerned that neither the Indian government’s rhetoric nor bilateral engagement has led to substantial, sustained economic reforms in India, superseding earlier optimism about the likelihood of expanding Indo-US commercial ties.”
PTI reported that while the report was critical of the government’s economic measures, it expressed optimistism about Indo-US defence cooperation.
“US-India security cooperation has blossomed in the 21st century despite a concurrent US military alliance with India’s rival Pakistan,” the report said.
CRS is an independent and bipartisan research wing of the US Congress which prepares periodic reports on issues of interest for the lawmakers to take informed decision.
“US diplomats rate military cooperation among the most important aspects of transformed bilateral relations, view the bilateral defence partnership as an anchor of global security and extol India’s growing role as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean Region,” it said.
This report was prepared on 6 June, ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s US visit by K Alan Kronstadt, who is a specialist in South Asian affairs and Shayerah Ilias Akhtar, a specialist in International Trade and Finance.
The report also refers to the number of pro-India legislations pending in both chambers of the US Congress in particular those related to the bilateral defence relationship.
In 2005, the US and India signed a 10-year defence framework agreement to expand bilateral security cooperation; the agreement was renewed for another decade in 2015.
“In April 2016, the US Secretary of Defence was in India for his fourth meeting with his Indian counterpart in 14 months, producing a joint statement with priorities for the coming year, including expanding collaboration under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and New Delhi’s Make in India efforts,” the report said.