Three gentlemen broke the world order. Xi Jinping’s surrealistic ambition of Chinese world domination and aggressive behaviour was unacceptable to the world. Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ plan forced the US to walk away from global leadership. Boris Johnson’s ‘Brexit’ broke the EU solidarity and dashed hopes of an alternative world voice. Then the Chinese virus hit us broadside. It shattered everything. It forced physical isolation. Countries looked inward to save their skin unaided. Result. Three things got blown—globalisation, multilateralism and free trade. Three things now dominate most conversation: Viral contagion, Chinese predatory aggression, and Islamic radicalism. Three international institutions—UN, WTO and WHO—are rendered marginalised and vilified, often as Chinese rubber stamps.
The broken world order exists in three planes. The ‘Each on its Own’ plane consists of a polarized and divided US, an isolated and aggressive China, an inflamed Islamic world, an inward-looking UK, an aging EU, an overpowered ASEAN, a peacenik Japan, an independently minded India, an exploited Africa and South America in limbo. The ‘Clash of Civilizations’ plane is interesting. The Western civilisation led by the US is divided, aging, receding and economically declining. The Sinic civilisation, in economic prime, seeks world domination through unaccommodating aggression and assertion. The Islamic Civilization is externally inflamed and internally engaged in endless internecine conflicts, a restricted outlook and sectarian divisions. The Japanese and Indian civilisations famously described as ‘swing’ civilisations seek stabilisation. These planes are operational in mutual exclusion. The third plane is Global leadership or lack of it. Need to discuss this more.
GLOBAL LEADERSHIP AND LACK OF IT
The US led the world out of many a crisis. It is in crisis today. Joe Biden, as new President, has a task on his hands—to rebuild the politically divided and deeply polarised US. While the US will remain the foremost military power for a long time to come, its economic foundations are weakened. Importantly its internal dynamics of race, culture and immigration are heading for a major reset. In this period its political heft will get limited. However, it will be foolish to write off the US. It has weathered yet another crisis to underline its resilience. The presidential election process has revealed the strength of its democracy and focused attention of Americans to the fact that China is their main threat. This will be a period when the US will internalise and yet strive to provide a measure of global leadership in the face of Chinese assertiveness. A large part of the world will continue to believe that the US will rise again.
China is the single large economy showing signs of early recovery from the Virus. It wants to be the foremost dominant power on earth. No one else wants it to be. It has detailed plans to assume global leadership. It has lined up a block of countries through ‘Debt Trap’ diplomacy to do its bidding and has cornered a significant say in Global institutions. The problem with it is simple: No One Including Pakistan Trusts China! It does not want to live in an international rules-based order. China wants everyone to live by the rules it sets. Its selfish assertiveness, expansionism and unbridled ambition make it unacceptable as a Global leader. Its reinvention as a Marxist-Maoist communist nation is largely reprehended by democracies. A Systemic global challenge cannot be a global leader.
During the cold war, the relevance of UN became questionable. However, UN and other world bodies reinvented themselves and provided leadership during the Gulf Wars and in resolving the everlasting West Asia-Middle East-African crises. UN peace keeping and Humanitarian and Disaster Relief roles were of special relevance. WTO emerged as the harbinger of interdependence in the globalization wave. In the current Pandemic conditions, everyone is virtually on his own and UN is invisible. The WHO has become a villain in cahoots with China. The WTO has become irrelevant. International institutions are out of sync with ground realities.
The rest of the Big Five are not really that big, without a global footprint or influence. Russia continues in an ‘ex-superpower’ dream. Its reality is that it is a cash strapped military power with a resource-based economy. UK and France are economies with limited influence. Their acceptance as global leaders waned after WW2 and collapse of their colonies. The other strong economies and big nations do not have much say in world affairs and are not acknowledged as leaders.
THE GLOBAL CHALLENGES AHEAD
China had undermined the Global System and was surreptitiously swinging everything towards itself when its baby—the Wuhan Virus struck. It exposed the Chinese perfidy and woke everyone to the real intent of Xi Jinping—to create a Chinese Global Order. In this overriding context the global scene will be challenging.
First and foremost, nations, societies and people will endeavour to recover from the Chinese virus and get on with their lives. When they begin afresh, they will pick up pieces from a vastly different position. Till the virus lasts, a degree of physical and psychological isolation will endure. This will force self-reliance, protection and societies getting adjusted to new norms of life with a new sense of nationalism. Global interdependence and border less societies are no more in fashion. Everyone will endeavour to establish an amount of strategic autonomy on issues which they consider critical to their national interests.
Economies will take time to pick up. The longer the Virus lasts, the slower the pickup rate. The Chinese virus will be amidst us for at least 2-3 two years even if a vaccine comes through. This will be a period of suppressed economic conditions. Economic growth is likely to return to normalcy only around 2024-25. Resource driven and commodity-based economies will be sluggish in recovery. Underprovided and underprivileged societies will suffer. Poverty, food security, hunger and human rights issues will come to the fore. Combine this with climate change and the results could be tough. We are already seeing some evidence of this in China through the current food crisis and the Han vs non-Han ethnic issues which have cropped up. Surprising but true. Look beyond the hype and propaganda. Even China is vulnerable.
Military and political power will dominate. Expansionist China, amongst all countries, will exert this power aggressively for global domination. China will leverage the BRI, economically and militarily, to gain dominance. Nations will endeavor to decouple from China and set up alternate supply chains. This will be resisted by China through means—fair and foul. As a result, alternate arrangements and alignments to counter and contain Chinese predation will emerge through competition and contestation. Periodic military and political confrontation is inevitable. Military and political power will have to protect economic revival of nations.
What the Atlantic and NATO was to the last century against USSR, the Indo Pacific and Quad is to this century against China. The Free and Open Indo Pacific construct with the Quad as its centerpiece will take a definite shape. Already there are indications that France, Germany and UK are stepping into the scene. Others will follow selectively. The arrangements and alignments will be opportunistic, and issue based rather than a formal NATO structure. Countries will get on and off the Quad platform as it suits them from time to time. The macro struggle between the US and China will override
Energy and resource consumption is currently depressed due to reduced economic activity. However, the tussle to secure them for the future will intensify. Water conflicts in densely populated transnational waterways will increase. The Mekong waterway dispute portends the new conflict spectrum. Climate change and environmental degradation will also dominate the political and economic landscape. China will be at the root of this conflict. China, while cleaning up its own eco system, is transferring its environmental degradation and pollution to other nations through the BRI network of Dams, Coal fired thermal plants and unsustainable infrastructural projects. For example, Pakistan is at the danger from becoming one of the most heavily polluted countries if the CPEC goes through even partially. The triple whammy of water shortage, environmental degradation and resource depletion will hit it badly.
The Virus has pushed the world into the digital age. Hence there will be digital competition with second order effects on other parts of the economy. There will be horizontal effects through disruptive technologies which will transform lives further. The digital competition will extend to political and economic spheres of life in a big way. Nations with enhanced digital capabilities will lead.
A critical and often overlooked issue is of aging societies. Aging societies tend to be pacifist, while younger societies tend to be aspirational, militaristic and migrant. Pacifism is evident in aging Japan, Germany and Europe. Aging societies will have to allow inward immigration to continue to grow like the US does. China provides a major conundrum in this context. Aging in China is irreversible. It is the fastest aging society with the greatest military and economic ambitions. Will it become old before becoming rich? As it ages will it continue to be militaristic or turn pacifist? Will it promote inward immigration? Vexing but relevant questions. Do not think this is a figment of my imagination. The aging issue has figured in the recent NPC of the CCP. Even the Chinese are wary of it.
THE NEW GLOBAL ORDER
So far the global order was set by the Big Five monopolistically. Everyone followed suit. The order was based on circumstances of the last century. In current conditions, the Big Five are themselves struggling. To trust them to set the new order will be folly. Very importantly the gap between the Big Five and the rest has narrowed and even turned around in cases. New poles and younger nations aspire for more. During the pandemic, when the chips were down, the Big Five left everyone to fend for themselves. In fact, they were part of the problem of collective global misery. The Failed Five system cannot be reinforced to lead us into another failure. There is no choice but to expand the global leadership and set a new global order for the new challenges ahead.
An analysis based on population, demography, polity, economic potential, military prowess, resource base and technology level clearly indicates that three countries have already surpassed some in the Big Five. These are Germany, India and Japan. No global solution is feasible without them. Other countries in this zone include Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Nigeria and South Africa. The post Second World War Order has to give way to a post-Pandemic Order. Are we looking at a shift from Big Five to a Council of Fourteen?
INDIA AND THE NEW ORDER
India, with its young and aspiring population, vibrant democracy, growing GDP and strategic location has a vital role in the world ahead. In pandemic terms, India has weathered the worst and has started recovering. It will lead in global recovery through its immunisation and vaccine knowledge and experience. This was foretold by a WHO official when the pandemic began. While India does not aspire to be another China, it is the only alternative for decoupling and containing China. It provides scale and safety from Chinese predation and undermining. It is the only country besides the US with the military prowess to confront China at sea or land. It will be an important and critical part of the Indo Pacific Construct. It is one of the few countries which has credible capability to aim for the Moon and the Mars. Surely such a country has to be part of the Global Leadership. On its part, India must have the confidence of breaking the non-alignment mindset. India needs to seek international arrangements best suited to meet its interests while fulfilling a global leadership role jointly. To achieve this, it is axiomatic that India needs internal transformation to let its strengths dominate.
In any estimate: India’s time has come.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog www.gunnersshot.com.
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UP CM INAUGURATES ISDA 2021; ALIGARH NODE OF UP DEFENCE CORRIDOR TO BE INAUGURATED BY AUGUST
The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), in partnership with the Confederation on Indian Industry (CII) and the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), is organizing the Indigenisation Summit on Defence and Aerospace (ISDA) 2021 from 28th to 31st July. Speaking at the Inaugural Session of ISDA 2021, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath said that the Defence corridor in UP is a greenfield project and the industries coming alongside the six nodes of the corridor can benefit immensely from the scheme by becoming part of the ecosystem. 1409 hectares of land has been earmarked under the corridor. The project proposals received so far from 54 companies would create employment of more than sixteen thousand people. He shared that development of roads, electricity, water & boundary walls are underway for the Aligarh node and the inauguration of the Aligarh node, comprising of 74 hectares of industrial land divided into 19 units is proposed in August 2021.
Sharing that 2500 crores have been earmarked by the central government for promoting investments in the defence corridors, he said that land banks were being created for zones where there is a greater demand of land for investment projects. The state government along with the Defence Ministry is also working on the establishment of labs under the Common facilitation centre, Defence testing and Infrastructure scheme which would benefit MSMEs & Start-ups in prototyping, technology training as well as design & development. The state government has also established centres of excellence at IIT Kanpur, BHU for a greater engagement between the Indian navy, industry & academia. The first instalment of the grant for research & development at these centres has already been disbursed & the second is under consideration. Awanish Awasthi, ACS-Home & CEO, UPEIDA noted that the vision of the UP government is to attain 1st position as a business destination. Speaking on the progress of the nodes of the Defence corridor, he mentioned that infrastructure development to the tune of 32 crores is underway at Aligarh and the node is expected to be ready for inauguration by August 2021.
The Kanpur node, where 25 crores has been assigned infrastructure development would also be ready in a couple of months whereas the Jhansi node work would be taken up in the next six months. Chairman ISDA 2021 & Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace Manoj Gupta remarked that a strong and empowered defence ecosystem is crucial for any country seeking to emerge as a significant global player. With the thrust provided by the ‘Make in India’ movement, today India’s exports are to the tune of ten thousand crores which was merely five hundred crores eight years back. Measures like only domestic tenders for contracts below 200 crores, increasing FDI limit in defence production from 49% to 74%, greater number of production categories, defence offset program as well as an updated DAP 2020 will further embolden the defence manufacturing in the country. He further pointed out that a higher offset for defence industries as well as a single-window system for license issuance for the defence manufacturers will go a long way in making UP a hub for defence & aerospace. Jayant Patil, President, SIDM pointed out that the reforms pertaining to the defence sector are focused on building capacity. This is evident through the 15% increase in defence budget allocation. He also highlighted that two-thirds of the defence budget is now dedicated to purchases from Indian industries, of which 20% has been reserved for MSMEs. Patil mentioned that 208 items have been moved to the positive list now hence no imports of these items would be allowed into the country to promote the Indian manufacturers. He highlighted that Indian is expected to be the security provider in the Region, for which the industry can prove to become the sixth arm of the Indian Defence system. Speaking on the occasion, Sachin Agarwal, Chairman, SIDM UP Chapter pointed out that today, close to 8000 Defence Sector MSMEs, primarily from tier 2 and tier 3 cities form the backbone and are the largest part, in terms of volume, of the Industry. He also mentioned that the industries that are bound to grow and mature in this phase of development will find that UP can provide the necessary infrastructure and support needed to augment production and services. Agarwal highlighted that the Government planning to spend $250 billion over the next 10 years for the modernization of its Forces and the Industry will have a critical role to play in meeting these demands. Ashmita Sethi, Co-Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace spoke about the various emerging technologies being deployed in defence manufacturing for which UP can become a potential hub. These included defence electronics, MRO facilities, space related research & development, electric military vehicles among others. Over the 3 day period, Sessions with UPEIDA, DPSUs and the Services HQs will be held to generate awareness about opportunities available for the Industry vis-a-vis Defence Manufacturing.
IAF FORMALLY INDUCTS RAFALE AIRCRAFT INTO NO. 101 SQUADRON
The Indian Air Force formally inducted Rafale aircraft into No. 101 Squadron at Air Force Station Hasimara in Eastern Air Command (EAC) on Wednesday. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) presided over the induction ceremony. On arrival, CAS was received by Air Marshal Amit Dev, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. The event also included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale aircraft to Hasimara followed by a traditional water cannon salute.
Addressing the personnel during the induction ceremony, CAS said that the induction of Rafale had been carefully planned at Hasimara; keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF’s capability in the Eastern Sector. Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron which bestowed upon them the title of ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’, CAS urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform. He said that he had no doubt that the Squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence.
101 Squadron is the second IAF Squadron to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The Squadron was formed on 01 May 1949 at Palam and has operated Harvard, Spitfire, Vampire, Su-7 and MiG-21M aircraft in the past. The glorious history of this Squadron includes active participation in 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.
RAJNATH SINGH ADDRESSES SCO DEFENCE MINISTERS’ MEETING IN DUSHANBE ‘
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Member-States of the SCO on successful completion of 20 years of its existence. He said that though India joined the organisation in 2017, historical and civilisational relations and geographical connects make India inseparable from the SCO. Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Wednesday Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, Terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and security. “Any act of terror and support to such acts, including cross border terrorism, committed by whomsoever, wherever and for whatever motives, is a crime against humanity,” he added. The Defence Minister reaffirmed India’s resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Rajnath Singh emphasised, “India accords high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners bilaterally on the basis of equality, mutual respect and understanding.” The challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their sincere practice, he added.
Stressing on the importance of the regional group, Rajnath Singh said, “The SCO Nations, together, encompass nearly half the human population on our planet. In terms of geography, it covers approximately three fifths of the Eurasian continent. We, therefore, have collective stakes to create a safe, secure and stable region that contributes towards progress and improvement of human development indices of our people and the generations which will follow.” He pointed out that it is in the same spirit India helps people of Afghanistan, which is facing violence and devastation over decades. So far India completed 500 projects in Afghanistan and continuing with some more with total development aid of US dollar 3 billion. Speaking about geo-strategic location of India that makes it both a Eurasian land power and also a stake-holder in the Indo-Pacific, the Defence Minister said, “Our intent and aspirations are therefore focused towards prosperity and development of the entire region. We affirm this intent through our national policy of Security and Growth for All in the Region, commonly known by the acronym SAGAR.” Security and Stability are most essential components to create conducive environment for growth and economic development of the region and of our respective Nations, he added.
Reiterating India’s resolve to work within the SCO framework for helping create and maintain a peaceful, secure and stable region, Rajnath Singh highlighted, “India also reiterate commitments to partner with fellow SCO Member-States to develop joint institutional capacities that respect individual national sensitivities and yet generate a spirit of cooperation to create contact and connectivity between people, societies and nations.” Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Defence Minister said “It has affected nations, civil societies and citizens in multiple ways. This is a warning sign of how non-traditional security challenges like pandemics, climate change, food security, water security and associated societal disruptions can impact national and international landscape.”
Rajnath Singh said the Armed Forces and the Defence Research and Development Organisation played a stellar role in efforts against Covid-19. He said, “During the global pandemic, India was able to provide support and assistance to countries around the world. This includes 6.6 crore doses of vaccines to 90 countries, support with medicine, medical consumables and equipment to 150 countries. We may mention the massive ‘Vande Bharat’ logistic service to move over 70 lakh stranded people, including foreigners, mostly by air route, but also by our ships in the Indian Ocean.”
Defence Minister assured, “India plans to produce well over 250 crore doses of vaccines between August and the end of 2021.We are determined to vaccinate at least 90 crore adult Indians and to help other friendly countries with vaccine.”
The Defence Minister called upon Member-Nations to evolve to meet the needs of its time. He said, “No institution, howsoever important, can remain frozen at the moment of its foundation. The inherent strength of SCO lies in the fact that Member-States participate in cooperation programme at their own pace and as per respective national policies. We are glad that SCO has evolved as truly an international organisation of significance.” Event of today is yet another step towards strengthening stability and security in the region. This will serve to further development of multilateral cooperation within the SCO format, he added.
INDIAN NAVY & IDFC FIRST BANK OFFER HONOUR FIRST BANKING SOLUTIONS TO NAVAL PERSONNEL
IDFC FIRST Bank announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Navy to offer Honour First, a premium banking solution, to serving personnel and veterans of the Indian Navy. Honour First is specially designed keeping in mind the needs of the Armed Forces community. It includes a zero balance salary Honour First salary account with unlimited free ATM transactions from any location, free fund transfers through IMPS, RTGS, and NEFT, free lost card liability protection and purchase protection. It has an accident insurance cover of Rs 46 lakh which include a children education grant of Rs. 4 lakh for wards of age up to 23 years and an additional Rs 2 lakh for girl child marriage cover for daughters in the age bracket of 18 years to 25 years. The MoU for Honour First was signed at the Naval Headquarters in New Delhi between Commodore Neeraj Malhotra, Commodore – Pay and Allowances, Indian Navy and Colin D’Souza, Head – Corporate Salary, IDFC First Bank.
Indian Navy is responsible to safeguard the maritime frontiers of the country including the island territories against external aggression as also assist in the safety of the world sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Speaking on the occasion, Amit Kumar, Head-Retail Liabilities & Branch Banking, IDFC First Bank, said, “It’s a proud moment for us. The association couldn’t have come at a better time as the Indian Navy celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the 1971 war. The Honour First solution is customised to the needs of Naval personnel and stands rooted in our customer-first and nation-first approach. We are constantly improving our offerings using state-of-the-art technology for a superior customer experience. It is a privilege for us to now serving the Indian Navy with an array of our convenient banking services, digitised financial solutions and enhanced access.” Malhotra said, “I welcome the initiative of IDFC First bank to offer customised banking solutions to suit the needs of Indian Navy and its personnel.”
FLEET AWARD CEREMONY OF WESTERN NAVAL COMMAND HELD AT MUMBAI AFTER ONE-YEAR GAP
The Fleet Award Ceremony each year marks the end of the operational cycle of the Western Fleet, the Sword Arm of the Western Naval Command. The ceremony was held at Mumbai after a gap of a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the ceremony was hosted by Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. The ceremony marked the operational achievements of the Fleet from April 2020 to March 2021. The event was attended by Flag Officers of Western Naval Command with Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command as the Chief Guest.
The ceremony hosted this year was a modest one in adherence to Covid norms. While the attendance was in limited numbers, the achievements of the Fleet were numerous as expected of the Sword Arm. A total of 20 trophies were given away covering a myriad spectrum of naval operations, safety practices and morale. INS Kolkata was awarded the ‘Best Ship’ among the capital ships for exhibiting immaculate grit whilst undertaking a plethora of maritime operations. INS Tarkash was awarded the ‘Most Spirited’ ship for an awe-inspiring display of enthusiasm and morale in all Fleet activities, exercises at sea and indomitable spirit. INS Deepak won the award of ‘Best Ship’ in the category of Tankers and OPVs.
The year covering the operational cycle from April 2020 to March 2021 was anything but ordinary. While the norm of the hour was to work from home, the Western Fleet remained mission deployed and poised for action during the challenging period last year. The Western Fleet also contributed immensely to Covid relief missions in support of the National effort to fight the pandemic. The ships and aircraft of the western fleet also undertook daring rescue operations to save innumerable lives when cyclone Tauktae struck the western coast of India. Today’s ceremony also paid a tribute to the sacrifices of the men and their families who put the call of duty before themselves for all these missions. The Sword Arm remains the first responder, operationally deployed, combat-ready and stood too.
US STATE SECRETARY BLINKEN ARRIVES IN NEW DELHI ON A TWO-DAY VISIT
The USA State Secretary Antony J. Blinken has landed in New Delhi on a two-day visit to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to strengthening Indo-US partnership and underscore cooperation on shared priorities. Secretary Blinken will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar to discuss a wide range of issues, including continued cooperation on Covid-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis. On Indo-US ties, Secretary Antony J. Blinken has said, “The US and India are working together on so many of the most important challenges of our time and ones that are having a profound impact on the lives of our citizens. The partnership between the US and India is vital, it’s strong, and it’s increasingly productive.”
THE INDO-PACIFIC FRONT
India is a leading global power and a key US partner in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. At the inaugural Quad Leaders’ Summit in March, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi joined their Japanese and Australian counterparts in pledging to respond to the economic and health impacts of Covid-19, combat the climate crisis, and address shared challenges, including in cyber-space, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime security.
DETERRING ADVERSARIES AND DEFENDING INTERESTS
US-India defence cooperation is reaching new heights, including through information sharing, liaison officers, increasingly complex exercises like Malabar, and defence enabling agreements, such as the secure communications agreement COMCASA. As of 2020, the US has authorised over $20 billion in defence sales to India. Through the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the US and India work together on co-production and co-development of defence equipment. The US and India are also closely coordinating on regional security issues, such as Afghanistan.
STRENGTHENING THE US-INDIA PARTNERSHIP
The US and India have a strong strategic partnership founded on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The US has supported India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity and economic inclusion. The US and India cooperate on a wide range of diplomatic, economic and security issues, including defence, non-proliferation, regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, shared democratic values, counterterrorism, climate change, health, energy, trade and investment, peacekeeping, the environment, education, science and technology, agriculture, space, and oceans. In 2008, the US and India signed an agreement, making India a full partner in the governance and funding of the Fulbright Program. An increase in exchanges under the agreement has allowed for the development of new and innovative programs, and India now has the largest Fulbright Scholar (faculty) program in the world. In FY 2019, this funding provided opportunities for 61 U.S. Scholars, 66 Indian Scholars, 80 US students, including 29 English Teaching Assistants, and 55 Indian students, including 13 Foreign Language Teaching Assistants. The US and India are working to expand cooperation in international organisations. The US welcomed India joining the UN Security Council in January 2021 for a two-year term. In October 2020, India hosted the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, and the US looks forward to the next 2+2 later this year.
COMBATING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The US has contributed more than $200 million to India’s Covid-19 relief and response efforts since the pandemic began, including more than $50 million in emergency supplies and training for more than 218,000 frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, benefitting more than 43 million Indians. Earlier this year, the US and India initiated the renewal of a memorandum of understanding to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases, including Covid-19 and other emerging threats. The US and India are partnering to strengthen the global response to Covid-19, on issues ranging from addressing infectious disease outbreaks to strengthening health systems to securing global supply chains. The US pharmaceutical companies have coordinated with Indian companies since the beginning of the pandemic. This cooperation includes voluntary licensing and technology transfer agreements to increase global manufacturing capacity for Covid-19 vaccines, therapies, and conducting clinical trials.
TACKLING CLIMATE CRISIS
The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry travelled to India in April of this year and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They discussed the importance of two of the world’s largest economies leading together to address the climate crisis. At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi launched the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership to strengthen cooperation on strong actions in the current decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to help each country achieve its respective climate and clean energy goals. Under the new Agenda 2030 Partnership, the US and India look forward to launching the new Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue, led by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and relaunching the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership, led by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, later this year. The US looks forward to furthering cooperation with India on tackling the climate crisis and rising global ambition ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, in November.
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