Carpe Diem for U.S.-India Trade Reset
The U.S.-China trade war and Indian economic reforms provide a golden opportunity for a U.S.-India trade deal and strengthen the geo-economic vision of America’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
In June, US President Donald Trump indicated a “very big” trade deal with India at the G-20 summit in Osaka. Last month at the G-7 summit, President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Modi reiterated their friendship and committed to resolving trade issues. Later this month, U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet on the sidelines of the 2019 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to further that commitment. As the US-China trade war goes further south, the Trump administration is prioritising trade deals with allies like Japan and the UK. In that vein, the US and India should also seize the momentum, reset their history of bilateral trade troubles, and propel the strategic partnership forward.
Much like the past, the Trump administration recognises the importance of the “natural partnership”—between the world’s oldest and largest democracies—as a conceptually sound idea owing to their shared values of preserving a rules-based order and strong people-to-people ties. In fact, in 2017, the Trump administration elevated India’s importance in its “Indo-Pacific” vision — a means to balance China’s “infrastructure investments and trade strategies [when used to] reinforce its [repressive] geopolitical aspirations” in the region.