Through ongoing dialogues and multilateral initiatives, the United States and India are accelerating their engagement to meet the challenges of the 21st century. As the world’s two largest democracies, the United States and India have over 30 bilateral dialogues, including the Strategic Dialogue. The two cooperate with other partners on a wide variety of regional and global issues to share views, address challenges, and provide leadership in the world.
- U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue: In July 2014, the United States and India held the fifth round of Strategic Dialogue discussions. This annual forum, led by the Secretary of State and the Minister of External Affairs, has led to deeper cooperation on regional issues, expanded trade and investment opportunities, contributed to India’s energy security, expanded people-to-people ties, and continued joint science and health research. The Dialogue also addresses challenges like climate change and counterterrorism, building on deeper U.S.-India counter-terrorism and law enforcement cooperation since the 2008 Mumbai attack that claimed both Indian and U.S. victims.
- U.S.-India-Japan Trilateral Dialogue: Since inaugurating the Dialogue in December 2011, the United States, India, and Japan have held five rounds of trilateral discussions on a wide range of regional and global issues; a sixth round is planned in the near future. In addition, the three sides will explore holding a trilateral ministerial at a mutually convenient time. In July 2014, the United States, India, and Japan jointly participated in the Malabar naval exercise in the Pacific Ocean following a May 2014 trilateral disaster response and risk reduction workshop in Hawaii. All three strategic partners participated in 2013 in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Relief, and Military Medicine exercise hosted by Brunei.
- Indian Ocean Region Dialogue: The United States and India plan to hold regular consultations on the Indian Ocean region. These will address maritime security and environmental challenges, protection of sea lanes, disaster management preparedness, and other issues relevant to this region through which two-thirds of the world’s seaborne trade in oil, half of the world’s seaborne container traffic, and one-third of the world’s seaborne bulk cargo transits annually. The dialogue reinforces our common economic and security objectives within regional organizations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). The United States is an observer at IORA.
- Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor (IPEC): Given India’s Act East policy and the United States’ rebalance to the Asia Pacific, the United States and India have discussed their visions of an Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor that can help bridge South and Southeast Asia – where the Indian and Pacific Oceans converge and where trade has thrived for centuries. Trade between South and Southeast Asia grew from $4 billion in 1990 to $86 billion by 2011. An increase in infrastructure investment equivalent to 1 percent of global GDP would likely translate into an additional 3.4 million jobs in India and 1.5 million in the United States. The United States acknowledges the significance of India’s $120 million investment in Burma’s Sittwe port and commits to explore similar programs leading to future development opportunities.
- UN and Multilateral Issues Dialogue: The Department of State and the Ministry of External Affairs are preparing to launch a dialogue focused on UN and multilateral issues. This new initiative will cover issues including the UN’s role in peace and security, the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda, and UN management and reform. India is the second largest contributor of peacekeepers to UN missions, with over 8,000 peacekeepers in the field, and participates with the United States in five UN peacekeeping missions.
- Cooperation in Afghanistan: The United States and India share a strategic interest in promoting peace, stability, and development in Afghanistan, and since 2012 have twice convened a trilateral dialogue with Afghanistan. India has been an important supporter of the international community’s reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, pledging $2 billion since 2001 in areas such as infrastructure projects, humanitarian assistance, women’s empowerment, education, human rights, and capacity building. India is also an important partner with Afghanistan via the Istanbul Process, a dialogue launched in November 2011 to expand practical coordination between Afghanistan and its neighbors, with the support of the United States and other international donors. The United States actively supports India’s participation in the Heart of Asia group of countries, which seeks to advance confidence building measures aimed at improving regional cooperation on Afghanistan.
- Regional Trade and Energy Coordination: The United States has also engaged India on the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline. The project has the potential to transform regional markets by delivering up 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to help meet South Asia’s growing energy needs, and generating an estimated $500 million annually in transit revenues for Afghanistan. TAPI is an important component of the United States’ New Silk Road initiative, which seeks to strengthen Afghanistan’s regional integration by expanding trade and transit routes and opening new markets.
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