Indo-US relationship through the years
TWO biggest democracies in the world. Two countries which could have been natural allies ever since India gained Independence in 1947. But, with India’s concerns over US’ inclination towards Pakistan and its own foreign policy of non-alignment, the two countries could not form any partnership of value, except a few incidents in the past and perhaps in the recent years with BJP at the Center. We take you through 10 major milestones in this Indo-US relationship right from India’s Independence to the recent trip to India by the US Defence Secretary.
- Prime Minister Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru’s US trip (October 13, 1949): On this date, Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru of India addressed a House Reception in the US. Nehru first met with President Harry S. Trumanand then with Congress. Just before the tour, India had proclaimed itself neutral in the developing Cold War between America and USSR and the American officials sought to remain on close terms with the nation which had just emerged from British colonial rule.
2. US President Dwight Eisenhower visits India (December 9, 1959):President Dwight Eisenhower became the first serving U.S. president to visit India. Eisenhower met with the then President Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and addressed Parliament.
3. The Green Revolution: American scientist Norman Borlaug, who would later go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize traveled to India to begin testing high-yield wheat varieties. His collaboration with Indian scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan resulted into the “Green Revolution,” which propelled India to become self-reliant for food within a decade. This partnership paved the way for future such collaborations between the two countries.
4. US siding with Pakistan in the Indo-Pak war of (1971): The war which gave birth to Bangladesh and, for the third time, resulted into India crushing Pakistan, had seen US siding with Islamabad which did not go down well with India. This marked a new low between the Ind-US relationship with India going on to sign a twenty-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union in August, sharply deviating from its previous position of non-alignment in the Cold War.
5. U.S. Enacts Nonproliferation Act (1978): Following India’s testing of nuclear weapons, which alarmed the world, US enacted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act, which required countries not included in the Nonproliferation Treaty — like India — to allow inspections of all nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. India refused, and Washington ended all nuclear assistance to Delhi.
6. Bhopal gas tragedy (1984): The Bhopal Gas Tragedy was a catastrophe that had no parallel in the world’s industrial history. In the early morning hours of December 3, 1984 forty tons of toxic gas (Methy-Iso-Cyanate, MIC) was accidentally released from Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant, which leaked and spread throughout the city and killed thousands. To add to the insult, Warren Anderson, the chairman of Union Carbide group was let go on a bail which he used to escape to the US. This incident created a huge dent in the| industrial partnership of the two countries.
7. Indo-Pak Kargil war (March 3, 1999): When Pakistani forces invaded India-administered Kashmir, then US President Clinton summoned Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Washington for an Fourth of July emergency meeting which resulted into Sharif withdrawing Pakistani forces from their positions beyond the Line of Control, after losing much of their ground to the Indian forces. This was perhaps the first time that the US had opposed Pakistan in a conflict with India.
8. Arrest and strip-search of Indian Diplomat (December 11, 2013): On this day, Devyani Khobragade, then the Deputy Consul General of the Consulate General of India in New York City, was charged by U.S. authorities with committing visa fraud and providing false statements to get an Indian maid into US. Khobragade was arrested and strip-searched which led to a major political stand-off between India and the US.
9. Obama invites Modi to the US (May 20, 2014): After the BJP won a landslide victory in the 2014 General Elections, newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited by US President Barack Obama after living his Visa ban, which had been in place due to the 2002 Gujarat riots under the Modi government.
10. US Defense Secretary visits India (April 10, 2016): US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter came for a 3-day visit to India including the visit to naval bases as well as a visit to Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. India and the US looked to close out the contentious Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), a deal of historic importance for both the countries.
Author: Niranjan Despande
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