The U.S. and India: A Potential Future in the Grand Alliance


Anna Howarth

September 2007


It is in the United States?best interest to establish and maintain friendly and favorable relations with India.?As the fourth largest democracy, India plays a vital role in geopolitical affairs, and it is important for the United States to foster a relationship that has India’s interests in mind. The United States has a tendency to dominate diplomatic issues in regard to weaker nations, however since India is so large and is emerging at such a fast rate, it is necessary to gain India as a reliable ally, in order to avoid their potential alliance with China. It is also in India’s best interest to improve ties with the United States.? With the United States on its side, India has U.S. support in the conflict with Pakistan. Also, because of the increasing rivalry between New Delhi and Beijing in the energy fields, with Beijing surging forward at a more rapid rate, India could find more leverage by increasing relations with the United States. With mutually sound economic, political and social contracts, the United States will provide India with the assurance of Western assistance, a diplomatic necessity that will serve as a giant leap in the direction of a Grand Alliance that includes India as a member.

The present situation concerning Pakistan and India is the result of decades of irredentist fighting and conflict. Many Pakistani decision-makers favor an alliance with China, due to China’s willingness to share technological intelligence (PINR). Such transactions increase Pakistan’s military capabilities and strengthen their forces against India. In fighting Pakistan, India has been self-reliant in attaining technology and forces, which has increased expenditure greatly (Butt). For India, easing tensions with the United States could provide them with the support they need, both monetarily and technologically, to increase their defense. This could also deter any conflicts with Pakistan in the future. The United States, trying to contain the emergence and potential domination of China, would be smart to back India with technological support against Pakistan, to counter the support given by China.?An alliance provides both countries with incentives and increased security in global politics. In 2005-2006, India carefully designed an agreement over nuclear technology that adhered to the many requests of the American government. After many months of deliberation (mainly by India), the two governments were successful in reaching an accord (Pant). This arrangement demonstrates the definite possibility of harmonizing the interests of both countries. The United States, allowing India to assert and maintain their nuclear capabilities, is providing India with the confidence they need to enter into the Grand Alliance. However, this one accomplishment is simply not sufficient to convince India to sign the Grand Alliance.

Another reason for India to soothe tensions with the United States is due to New Delhi’s heightened rivalry with Beijing in the energy field (PINR). In order to sustain their growing economies, and the further production, both countries need to secure viable energy sources for the future. In 2005, India entered into rigorous talks with two Canadian oil companies for assets in Ecuador and Kazakhstan, but was defeated by an overzealous China (Bezlova). This uncertainty of future supplies, and competition with China can be alleviated with a closer alliance with the United States. The United States needs to prevent China from gaining too much control over oil supplies in order to avoid problems in the future. In allying with the United States, India will have a better chance of fastening oil supplies for their rising demands. It is important for India to see that the Grand Alliance would not suggest a relinquishing of power to the United States, but a convergence of power, aimed at creating a stable global economy through multilateral partnerships.

As I mentioned above, it is imperative for the United States to provide India with more incentives, as well as assurance that this alliance is beneficial to the country both domestically and internationally. A critical domestic issue the United States can address to improve the internal well being of India is the education system. In recent years, the amount of university graduates has reached numbers close to 2.5 million, behind only the United States and China, however due to lack of funding and a rigid traditional approach to academics, the universities are becoming stagnant in their academia (Basu). It would behoove the United States to act in favor of furthering education and to promote a more liberal approach to the academic culture, which would include a focus on mathematics and the arts in the criteria. India’s approach to the educational system is neglecting the need for a change in the system, although they provide good training in the professional arena, subjects such as mathematics and the arts are missing (Basu). The universities and their graduates are failing to keep up with those in competing countries. It is important for India to build up a dynamic knowledge sector if they are to continue on their path of economic success and maintain a notable presence in the global market. India and the United States need to collaborate on ways to fund intensive research projects that attract the brightest minds and flood universities with capital for investments. If India is willing to subsidize college level education, and include mathematics and the arts in academia as well as professional training, it has the potential to compete with China and other countries on a more level playing field.

          ?Along with building up education in India, the United States can provide diverse domestic aid, which will increase its credibility with India. Internal conflicts, fueled by revolutionaries, such as the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army, are inhibiting economic growth and success, which in turn hurts India in the global market (Sengupta). These insurgents are attempting to overthrow the government and are causing instability within the nation. It is deemed necessary for India to suppress the Maoist insurgency and the instability and disruption they cause in society.

Also, on top of the problems caused by the insurgents, poverty, malnutrition and lack of water provide unsatisfactory living conditions for many citizens. Poor landless peasants are attempting to fight a corrupt system for legal ownership of their land (Morris). These peasants are at the bottom of the caste system, and are continually overlooked and disregarded by the government. In the news today, these landless farmers are marching to the capital to protest against the rigid government (Morris) The United States could provide humanitarian aid to such problems.?Clean water is an essential part of life. If the two countries would collaborate to build irrigation and clean water pipes to the countryside, the poverty level would decrease greatly.?Such a decrease would in turn allow for more focus on economic development. Providing landless peasants with property allows them to feel a sense of worth, which creates a sense of confidence and support of the government. In the absence of peasant uprisings and insurgent strikes, India will become increasingly stable, both politically and economically. If India can gradually lessen the severity of the hierarchical society, which keeps lower class citizens in unsavory conditions, the system could become more fluid. Creating hope for lower class citizens is an important psychological factor in creating a stable society. The more trust the citizens have in their government, the more willing they are to obey laws and a confident farmer could sustain a healthy lifestyle for him and his family. Increased living standards leads to more involvement in the economic environment.?A more efficient political dialogue is needed between the two countries to create a stable environment for Indian citizens. Explicit solutions and goals need to be set forth with deadlines in order to secure a transition into change.

          ?It is increasingly important to create secure jobs for the working and middle class.?A strong middle class provides for a certain stable growth of the economy and assured consumerism.?Indian outsourcing firms have proved greatly successful over the past few years and provided a wide range of jobs to citizens (AFP). This continuing success is encouraging to the United States, that an eager India will warm up to the idea of entering into the Grand Alliance. However, the United States should still take great interest in the internal affairs of India as to ensure growth in all areas (not solely in certain big cities). As I mentioned above, small, yet significant steps in helping India build a committed state will strengthen India’s internal structure and nourish friendly relations between the United States and India.       

          ?Since India is taking a very passive stance in international affairs and is not jumping to the United States for help, there is still a slight possibility India will remain neutral, or even turn to China as a potential ally. In 2006, the two Asian giants showed interest in forming bilateral ties in such arenas as politics, energy and trade (People’s Daily Online). Such relations strain the United States?and India’s potential for multilateral agreements within the Grand Alliance. Another breakthrough between the two countries is their agreement to reopen the Nathu La pass, the mountain pass that links the two countries, after over forty years of no trading (PDO). This agreement not only helps the counties with bilateral trade benefits, but also settles many years of disputes over border issues. Such relations between China and India should be of some worry to the United States. The Grand Alliance is proposed to ensure the safety of the global political climate, which involves the containment of an emerging China. India, as a large democratic country with much to offer, is a vital organ in the creation of such an alliance. With such intimate relations with China, it is imperative for the United States to win India’s affection and make offers India cannot refuse.

          ?It is increasingly important for the United States to maintain favorable relations with India due to its importance in the Grand Alliance and containing China.?It is noticeable that it is possible for the United States and India to have a potentially amiable relationship in global affairs. India is on the right path to becoming a stable and powerful economy in a global context. And with the help of the United States, India could accelerate this process, surpassing the success of China. However, it is not for the U.S. to force diplomacy on India, and act in a superior manner, for such actions are likely to push India away from dealings with the U.S, and into discussion with China. In addition, this friendship would offer India a great deal of security on a global and national level. It is important for the two countries to collaborate on solutions to domestic issues causing instability, and also international conflicts causing strain on the state.



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Bezlora, Antoanela. “China Oil Rivalry Pushes India, Taiwan Closer.?Asia Times                                                        ?           ?Online. 5 Oct. 2005.?        ?/span>    ?


Morris, Chris. “India Tribals Begin Massive March?BBC News Online. 2 Oct. 2007.



Pant, Dr. Harsh V. “Bush Visits South Asia and Offers a Nuclear Girt to India?PINR. 8           Mar. 2006.


Sengupta, Somini. “In Villages Across India, Maoist Guerrillas Widen ‘People’s War’”.

          ?The New York Times. Reprinted in Developing World 07/08


Shahin, Sultan. “India Doubting Its US ‘Strategic Partnership’” Asia Times Online. ?/span>27 ?Mar.?2005.


“China-India Relations- Best Yet to Come.?People’s Daily Online (PDO). 20 Nov. 2006



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“India Remains Outsourcing Favourite, Says Survey.?AFP. 30 Sept. 2007.