US - India

Jan — Apr 2022
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Cold-War Era Differences & Indo-Pacific Synergies

By Akhil Ramesh
Published May 2022 in Comparative Connections · Volume 24, Issue 1 (This article is extracted from Comparative Connections: A Triannual E-Journal of Bilateral Relations in the Indo-Pacific, Vol. 24, No. 1, May 2022. Preferred citation: Akhil Ramesh, “US-India Relations: Cold-War Era Differences & Indo-Pacific Synergies,” Comparative Connections, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp 57-68.)

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This chapter was made possible through a grant from the Hindu American Foundation.

2022 started with a surging omicron wave, followed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a global food, energy, and supply shortage crisis that impacted a wide range of sectors. The United States and India worked collaboratively and individually to put out these fires over the first four months of 2022, becoming more aware of synergies to build on and differences to address. In the first four months of 2022 bilateral ties witnessed successes in their joint efforts. The Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership between the US and India was in action through cooperation on vaccines and COVID-19-related supply chain resiliency initiatives. During the reporting period, India removed several agricultural trade barriers, the US unveiled its Indo-Pacific Strategy, foreign and defense ministers held their 2+2 meeting, and there were several phone conversations and in-person meetings between the two administrations discussing Ukraine, Afghanistan, and other Indo-Pacific issues. Historically, foreign affairs has not played a significant role in Indian state-level elections. However, domestic politics in India has a significant impact on foreign relations. On topics of trade, economic cooperation, infrastructure development, and even human rights, developments in state elections can profoundly impact US-India relations.

Modi: Better than Teflon

Amid a pandemic, Ukraine conflict, and global economic crises, five Indian states went to the polls in February and March. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) once again got a clear mandate from the public, winning in four of the polls.

Figure 1 A supporter of India’s BJP displays cutouts of PM Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh state’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as he celebrates poll results in Lucknow Photo: Pawan Kumar/Reuters

There were multiple issues at play in those elections. In the northern states, the Modi administration’s notorious farm bills—which sought to liberalize the farming sector and prompted protests by members of farmers’ unions last year—plus its success with religious and cultural initiatives such as the building of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, its relative success with channeling the flow of infrastructure and manufacturing investments into those states and—as with any Indian state election—the caste calculus all played significant roles.

Those local electoral successes might receive little attention internationally but they portend policy consistency in Delhi. This will aid the continuation of reforms for increased investment and in creating a business-friendly environment. While the farmers’ protests impacted the election results in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP won by a smaller margin than in the previous election, this is not expected to reverse the administration’s reform drive.

As the Modi government consolidates power electorally, its macroeconomic reform agenda coupled with the Atmanirbhar (“self-reliant India”) initiative will accelerate, profoundly impacting states such as Uttar Pradesh, an agrarian state that has historically been shunned by investors for a host of reasons—lack of basic infrastructure, poor law and order, and stringent labor laws. The state’s prospects have been changed by its leader, the saffron-clad monk, Yogi Adityanath. On crime, he has taken a Rudy Giuliani approach to crime—zero-tolerance—bringing law and order to a former “Wild West” state. With the support of Modi, the state has successfully executed several infrastructure projects such as highways, bridges, airports, and metros, and reformed and consolidated its archaic labor laws.

The state is crucial for the US-India relationship for two reasons. First, it receives the Modi administration’s undivided attention since it is politically important for his government, providing 78 seats of 521 in Parliament. Second, it is at the heart of the administration’s flagship Atmanirbhar and Make in India initiatives. The government thus has incentive to channel international investments into the state, and has done so with French, Japanese, and Korean investments. As US investments follow those, the success and failure of those manufacturing and investment decisions will chart the course of the US-India economic relationship.

Foreign affairs also matter to the relationship. A case in point was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, which ignited a discussion in both Washington and New Delhi on Cold War relationships and their impact on 21st-century partnerships. It proved to be a stress test of the US-India relationship.

March Madness

If “the ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands,” the US-India relationship was stress-tested by the Ukraine crisis, but it held. The Cold War-era alliance between Delhi and Moscow was a recurring issue from the onset of the invasion. But as the Quad meetings and the 2+2 ministerial meetings highlighted, the US-India relationship has grown in many directions, addressing energy challenges, vaccines for the Global South, climate change, and supply chain resiliency. Even in its prime, the Soviet-India relationship was not as comprehensive as the US-India one that exists today—and it is just getting started.

For a nation that has historically championed non-alignment and, more recently, multi-alignment for its foreign policy strategy, India had a challenging time de-hyphenating relations or at least convincing the Western world that such a de-hyphenation was possible under the circumstances. While there was no shortage of drama at press briefings, both the US and Indian administrations chose pragmatism to protect their strategic partnership.

The way the conflict in Ukraine tested the limits of India’s strategy of multi-alignment and US tolerance of India’s Cold War-era loyalties may have been best illustrated at the start of the conflict on Feb. 25, when US forces participated in the Indian Navy-led Exercise Milan for the first time. The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA), from Patrol Squadron (VP) 47, joined with ships, aircraft, and personnel from India and numerous other navies to begin Exercise Milan 2022, in the Bay of Bengal.

Just as the exercise was kicking off, however, the entire Western world was uniting in condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. However, outside of the West, the rest of the world was cautious in its approach to the conflict. For India, taking sides against its Cold War-era partner Russia, in favor of its 21st-century partner, the United States, meant choosing between the country that sent its warship to the Bay of Bengal 50 years earlier to warn the US 7th Fleet against intervening in the Indo-Pakistani War, vs siding with the government with which it was conducting joint naval exercises.

Figure 2 Sailors aboard USS Fitzgerald wave to the Indian Navy destroyer INS Ranvir (D54) during Exercise Milan 2022 in the Indian Ocean. Photo: US Navy Photo/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Catie Coyle

America Plays “Good Cop/Bad Cop”

In the first two weeks of March, the priorities of the Indian government were to bring home its students from Ukraine, who were pursuing medicine and engineering at universities across the country. The external affairs ministry faced domestic pressure from states run by opposition parties such as Tamil Nadu and West Bengal to bring back those students. In this situation, the last thing the ministry wanted was a hasty change in foreign policy that could work against the national interest.

Nevertheless Prime Minister Modi, in his calls with both Putin and Zelenskyy, while prioritizing the safe repatriation of Indian students, called for peace and resolution through talks and diplomacy. India’s national interest meant limiting its economy’s exposure to global commodity price shocks, and thereby inflation, potentially impacting the poorest in India. The conflict had the unintended consequence of a rise in commodity prices, with crude oil crossing $130 per barrel and wheat shooting up to unprecedented prices. India’s balancing act between Russia and the US paid off with the availability of Russian oil at discounted rates. As a consequence, it was not in India’s interests to join Western sanctions or condemn Russia at multilateral forums such as the UN Security Council or UN Human Rights Council. As expected, this prompted a backlash on the global stage.

Figure 3 A gas station in Kolkata. Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, purchased 3 million barrels of Russian oil following the invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Indranil Aditya/Zuma Press

Criticism of India for seeking alternate mechanisms to secure oil from Russia, circumventing economic sanctions imposed by the West, came from sectors and countries in the West, from commodities traders to analysts at prestigious think tanks to government officials.

Responding to a question about whether the UK was disappointed by India buying Russian oil, India’s External Affairs Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar remarked that “it looked like there was a campaign on this issue” and pointed out that in March, Europe bought 15% more oil and gas from Russia than the month before, that most buyers of Russian oil are in Europe, and that India buys the bulk of its oil from the Middle East—with about 8% coming from the US and less than 1% coming from Russia. Shortly after, The Economist magazine published a cartoon that picturized/caricatured Xi and Modi as heartless leaders who supported Putin. Interestingly, while the Western world was supplying Ukraine with weapons, artillery, and expedited financial aid, India shipped both Ukraine and Russia vital medicines to prevent ailing civilian populations from bearing the brunt of the conflict.

While criticisms from the media may have a negligible impact on US-India relations, that of US government officials is a different story. US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, in her visit to India in late March, told an Indian television channel of her advice to her Indian counterparts to rethink their Russian energy policy. Furthermore, she organized private meetings with activists and social leaders who were ardent critics of the Modi administration—a move equivalent to a senior Indian foreign ministry official meeting with Black Lives Matter under a Republican administration or a gun rights advocacy group under a Democratic administration. Fueling the fire, Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh, in his visit to New Delhi in the same month, warned India of consequences if India were to continue its energy trade with Russia.

The pressure on India, from various fronts, to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine was short-lived, and India emerged without much damage to its partnerships with the Western world. The White House ultimately put an end to the pressure, along with speculation as to whether there were fissures in the US-India relationship due to Delhi’s relationship with Russia, in April by calling India ties the most important in the world for the US.

Nevertheless, while the White House seems to understand India’s predicament and its significance for the Indo-Pacific strategy, some US government officials and government-funded think tanks engaging in veiled threats signal that the US is playing “good cop, bad cop” with India. This duality, coupled with the Indian administration’s multi-alignment strategy, will not serve the US-India relationship well and has the potential to stagger the rapidly growing ties.

Destination India

The end of March and April do not typically attract many visitors to India, due to the scorching heat and the humidity. Yet, in 2022, that’s when India received the most foreign dignitaries, from heads of state to vice presidents to various secretaries (not including the Raisina Dialogue). Over a span of three weeks, around 10 different nations sent representatives to India. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in New Delhi to discuss energy, trade, and security while the UK Secretary of State Liz Truss was in New Delhi to discuss trade and prepare for her prime minister’s scheduled meeting with his Indian counterpart.

Figure 4 A US Congressional delegation led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand poses with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during their visit to New Delhi on April 21, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar

A US Congressional delegation led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited New Delhi to exchange views on Ukraine, Afghanistan, South Asia, and bilateral cooperation with Jaishankar. Interestingly, around the same time, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar visited Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as part of her four-day visit to Pakistan from April 20-24. The Biden administration distanced itself from the trip by characterizing it as a personal trip by the congresswoman. Nevertheless, the Indian external affairs ministry condemned the trip, perceiving the visit as an attempt at bringing international attention to its internal affairs.

Unexpectedly, Vice Premier and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi made a short trip to New Delhi to invite India to attend the upcoming BRICS summit. Not surprisingly, the Indian government gave the vice premier the cold shoulder, neglecting the usual diplomatic honors given to a state-level visit such as meeting the delegate at the airport. This is not shocking given that the two states have been unable able to revert to normal relations since the Galwan valley clash in 2020.

Ministers Get Candid

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomed Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar to Washington on April 11 for the fourth US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. The dialogue was preceded by a virtual meeting between the leaders of the two countries. In their statement, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific in which the territorial integrity of all states is respected, and countries are free from military, economic, and political coercion. The ministers welcomed the progress made on several initiatives and highlighted the fact that the bilateral US-India relationship has expanded in scope thanks to the formation of the Quad grouping. They applauded the growth of the bilateral relationship. Of significance are these developments:

  • Climate Change & Renewable Energy. The ministers talked about creating an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework to develop new approaches to trade that met high environmental standards and about making shared investments in decarbonization and energy resiliency to meet 2030 and 2050 targets. Both the US and India have actively pursued these goals for some time. For example, the US signed the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance, an initiative of France and India to address climate change through adoption of solar energy. The US, through DFC, supported solar panel manufacturer First Solar’s facility to produce panels in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. At the 2+2 ministerial meeting, the ministers present praised the efforts of their counterparts in identifying low-carbon pathways to undertake joint research and development, including commercialization and scaling up of green hydrogen, battery storage, and rooftop solar in India. Cooperation on climate change is one area where it is appropriate to say that the US-India relationship has grown from the ocean floor (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s collaboration with India’s Ministry of Earth Science) to outer space (development of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite to monitor climate change).
  • Trade and Economic Cooperation. The ministers applauded the rebound of trade in goods to over $113 billion since COVID-19 and the progress of several working group discussions to reduce market access barriers and improve ease of business, which have been perennial challenges for US businesses investing and operating in India. USAID and India’s Development Partnership Administration (DPA) decided to expand triangular development activity with third countries.
  • Defense and Security. Defense and security cooperation between US-India has historically been limited. However, the Indo-Pacific Strategy indicates that the US seeks to advance integrated deterrence and develop interoperability with India. At the ministerial dialogue, the ministers welcomed the progress of the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) on the agreement to co-develop air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Notably, the ministers agreed to explore the possibility of utilizing Indian shipyards for maintenance of US Maritime Sealift Command (MSC) to support repair of US Naval ships. The ministers underscored the importance of cooperation in space and suggested an inaugural Defense Space Dialogue.
  • People-to-people. Educational linkages have been the strongest element of the US-India people-to-people ties. The ministers welcomed the launch of the ICMR-NIH Clinical Research Fellowship Program, the Quad Fellowship program, and the US-India Education, and Skills Development Working Group.
  • Multilateral cooperation. In addition to initiatives launched as part of the Quad, in what could be dubbed a significant development for the emerging partnership between US and India, the US reaffirmed its support for India’s permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council and for India’s entry to the Nuclear Supplier’s Group.
  • Vaccines & global health. The ministers committed to expediting the delivery of the first batch of vaccines manufactured at the Biological E facility in India, support by the US DFC to countries of the Indo-Pacific and beyond, and to diversify the basket of vaccines in the larger context of global changes in demand and supply. Both parties applauded the recent collaboration in vaccine R&D and the manufacturing of Corbevax, Janssen, and Novovax vaccines at Indian facilities.

A relationship once limited to mostly trade in information technology, tourism, and the diaspora has widely expanded and now runs the gamut, from addressing climate change to enhanced defense cooperation.

Figure 5 Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meet with Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar in Washington on April 11, 2022 for the fourth US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. Photo: Twitter/@rajnathsingh

The Jaishankar Way

Despite the progress that the dialogue revealed, the Indian external affairs minister injected a dose of realism after the proceedings. In the press briefing after the 2+2 meeting, when the Indian ministers were asked about their Russian oil purchases and whether they should reconsider them, Jaishankar’s riposte—“thank you for suggesting how we conduct our foreign affairs, but we are well aware of our interests…” and his note that Europe buys more Russian oil in an afternoon than India buys “in an entire month” was another sign of the changing times. Moreover, unexpectedly, Blinken talked about the human rights issues related to policing in parts of India. In the press briefing that followed, Jaishankar, when asked about Blinken’s comments, remarked that India has issues with the US human rights record as well and India would be open to discussing that.

Those remarks reveal what could be a perennial challenge to cooperation between these two democracies, and the minister’s ripostes show that the Modi administration remains determined to assert itself. Nonetheless, there are those in the Biden administration who understand India’s dilemma, such as State Department Counselor Derek Chollet, who added that the “Russo-Ukrainian war doesn’t impact US-India ties, our connection is deep, it’s strong. The US understands India’s long-standing defense relationship with Moscow, it started at a time when America wasn’t available as a partner to India.” Similarly, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said, “Indian democracy is messy but so is ours.”

Conclusion: The Time Has Come

The change in tone indicated by Sherman and Chollet’s remarks reflects the current needs of the US-India relationship and demonstrates a realization that the US and India have many internal challenges and flaws, as is inherent in any democracy. The legacy of the US and India’s Cold War-era relations also presents challenges, with Pakistan, the US’ non-NATO strategic ally, having a historical dispute with India. However, President Biden has not had a single phone call with the Pakistani leadership since taking office and with recently ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan suggesting that the US was behind his ousting, that relationship may be dying a slow death. India’s relations with Russia could suffer the same fate; empirical evidence would suggest so. India’s reliance on Russian defense exports has been declining over the past five years. While 85% of Indian defense is made up of Russian hardware—which is hard to replace overnight—the diversification process has begun.

France is a strong contender. Its exports have grown 10-fold over five years to become India’s second-largest source of arms and equipment. Moreover, US energy can replace that of Russia and contribute to India’s growth. As Jaishankar pointed out, energy trade with the US did not exist a decade ago and now India imports more crude from the US (8%) than it does from Russia (2%). As highlighted in the 2+2 meeting, several sectors are ripe for collaboration. Energy (both renewable and nonrenewable), electric vehicles, cyber security, AI, defense, and people-to-people connections are areas where synergies can be fostered, keeping not just the Indo-Pacific but the entire world clean, safe, and secure.

The US is expected to capitalize on this trend and find ways to increase its defense exports to India. India is the world’s largest importer of arms and ammunition and the US Congress, along with the US arms industry, is expected to explore ways to participate in India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, speaking on the sidelines of the IMF meetings in Washington, summed it all up: “India wants to be friends with the European Union and the Western, free, liberal world, but not as a weak friend that needs desperate help here and there.” While that could be music to the ears of Americans who have become increasingly skeptical of sending aid and troops around the world—often underwriting the defense expenses of partner nations —the minister’s comments signal a willingness to consider alternatives to Cold War arrangements. In the coming months, US businesses will explore opportunities with a renewed/revitalized interest. Whether they find room in India’s self-reliance drive, only time will tell.

It is a good time for the US to center trade and economic engagement with India to develop the relationship, as the two countries are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations in 2022. As neither India nor the United States are part of RCEP or CPTPP, much hope rests on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. India has concluded bilateral trade deals with unprecedented urgency with nations such as the United Arab Emirates and Australia and is in the process with the UK. While there are outstanding issues to address, it seems likely that the US and India will look to accelerate the negotiation process to finalize a bilateral trade agreement.

Despite Biden categorizing the relationship with India as the most crucial for the United States, his administration has not yet appointed an ambassador to India. Biden must appoint an ambassador to accelerate the expansion and the scope of the relationship. The two democracies are finally coming to terms with their Cold War-era differences and, based on the prioritization of cooperation for the Quad Summit in Tokyo later this year, it is evident that the time has come for the US-India relationship to accelerate.

Chronology by Pacific Forum research intern Angela Hou

Jan. 3, 2022: Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss bilateral issues, the Indo-Pacific region, and other global matters.

Jan. 5, 2022: US Navy joins India, Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force to begin multinational exercise Sea Dragon 22.

Jan. 8, 2022: US Department of Agriculture and Indian Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare sign a framework agreement for implementing the “2 Vs 2” Agricultural Market Access Issues. This grants market access for pomegranate arils from India and cherries and alfalfa hay from the US, among other goods.

Jan. 10, 2022: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announce that India has agreed to allow imports of US pork and pork products into India, removing longstanding agricultural trade barriers.

Jan. 10, 2022: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says that the US and India are expected to move forward on initiatives in 2022 including the fight against the pandemic, climate change, the Quad, and emerging technologies.

Jan. 12, 2022: Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans at the Department of Homeland Security Rob Silvers meets Indian Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla at the US-India Homeland Security Dialogue Senior Officials Meeting. They discuss the global supply chain, aviation and maritime security, law enforcement and information-sharing, counter-terrorism, cyber-security, critical infrastructure, customs enforcement and trade security.

Jan. 19, 2022: Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman speaks with Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to discuss bilateral and regional priorities, including Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s borders, regional issues, and the fight against COVID-19, including the supply of vaccines. They also exchange views on the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East, the United Nations Security Council, and more.

Jan. 21, 2022: Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu meets Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya. They discuss matters of mutual interest, including leveraging bilateral health and knowledge partnerships.

Jan. 27, 2022: Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav meets US Climate Envoy John Kerry and other leaders at the Major Economies Forum to reflect on COP26 outcomes and the ways to accelerate climate action.

Feb. 7, 2022: Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. speaks to Indian Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari to congratulate him on his appointment as chief of the Air Staff. They discuss increasing cooperation and further operationalizing India’s unique status as a Major Defense Partner of the US.

Feb. 8, 2022: Secretary Blinken departs for a visit to the Indo-Pacific region.

Feb. 10, 2022: Sandhu meets with Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the State Department Jose W. Fernandez to discuss the India-US bilateral partnership.

Feb. 11, 2022: Secretary Blinken meets with Minister Jaishankar to discuss cooperation on climate, COVID-19, and strengthening Indo-Pacific cooperation bilaterally and through the Quad.

Feb. 11, 2022: US launches its new Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Feb. 11, 2022: At the fourth Quad Foreign Minister’s meeting, Australian Foreign Minister and Minister for Women Marise Payne meets the foreign ministers of India and Japan, plus Secretary of State Blinken, in Melbourne to discuss issues that shape collective prosperity and security.

Feb. 23, 2022: Ambassador Sandhu participates in the Roundtable on Vaccines to discuss leveraging India-US synergies in producing affordable COVID-19 vaccines for the world, including the African region.

Feb. 24, 2022: President Biden speaks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar about the crisis in Ukraine and the importance of a strong collective response to Russian aggression.

Feb. 24, 2022: Prime Minister Modi participates in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the prime minister urges an end to the violence in Ukraine.

Feb. 25, 2022: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla welcomes Commander of the US Pacific Fleet Adm. John Paparo to India for Navy-led Exercise Milan 2022. They discuss bilateral maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

Feb. 26, 2022: Modi participates in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss the situation in Ukraine. 

Feb. 26, 2022: US Forces participate in Indian Navy-led Exercise Milan for the first time.

Feb. 28, 2022: Sandhu meets Gov. Gavin Newsom to discuss connections between India-US bilateral relations and California, including the state’s strengths in healthcare, IT and emerging tech, renewables, education, defense and aerospace, and the vibrant Indian-American diaspora in California.

March 2, 2022: Modi participates in a call with Putin to review the situation in Ukraine and emphasize India’s need to evacuate its citizens from Kharkiv amid an assault by Russian forces. 

March 2, 2022: India and the US hold the 19th Military Cooperation meeting at the Air Force Station in Agra to strengthen defense cooperation, fortify defense arrangements, and consider new initiatives under the ambit of existing cooperation mechanisms.

March 3, 2022: President Biden meets with Quad leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the Quad’s commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity, including security, safety, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

March 4, 2022: US Food and Drug Administration rejects emergency authorization for India-made COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged 2 to 18.

March 4, 2022: Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland meets Sandhu at the US State Department to discuss Indo-Pacific priorities and challenges, deepening bilateral partnerships, and peace and security in the region.

March 5, 2022: Manipur Legislative Assembly election concludes. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins the election, which began on Feb. 28, 2022. 

March 7, 2022: Modi participates in a call with Zelenskyy to discuss the situation in Ukraine. Modi seeks Ukraine’s assistance in India’s evacuation from Sumy. 

March 7, 2022: Modi participates in a call with Putin, where he conveys the importance of the safe evacuation of Indian citizens from Sumy city in Ukraine.

March 7, 2022: Three-day 23rd Executive Steering Group Meeting begins in New Delhi between the Indian and US Navies. The meeting discusses bolstering defense relations. 

March 7, 2022: Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly election concludes. BJP wins the election, which began on Feb. 10, 2022. 

March 10, 2022: Punjab Legislative Assembly election concludes. The centrist Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wins, and claims 92 seats.

March 10, 2022: Goa Legislative Assembly election concludes. BJP wins. 

March 10, 2022: Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly election concludes. BJP wins and claims 47 seats.

March 10, 2022: Members of US Congressional Hispanic Caucus urge President Biden to champion vaccine collaboration with India to end the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter suggests the use of two vaccines resulting from India-US collaborations on vaccine equity through Corbevax and Covovax.

March 15, 2022: India, the US, the European Union, and South Africa reach a consensus on the key elements of an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines at the WTO.

March 15, 2022: Food and Drug Administration and India’s Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) sign arrangement that facilitates their cooperation to ensure safer seafood products for Indian and US consumers.

March 15, 2022: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says that India would not be violating US’ sanctions if India imported oil from Russia. 

March 16, 2022: Applications for the Quad Fellowship open.

March 17, 2022: Congressman Ami Bera, chair of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia, Pacific, Central Asia, and Non-Proliferation, says he has been deeply disappointed with India’s abstention at United Nations votes condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine.

March 21, 2022: Undersecretary of State Nuland meets Secretary Shringla for bilateral consultations in preparation for 2+2 ministerial meetings in Washington and an in-person Quad summit in Tokyo later this year. They review progress in the bilateral Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership and discuss issues in South Asia, the Indo-Pacific, West Asia, and Ukraine.

March 22, 2022: Undersecretary of State Nuland meets Minister Jaishankar to discuss expanding bilateral cooperation in South Asia, the Indo-Pacific, and the Ukraine situation.

March 23, 2022: USA.I.D. announces that Administrator Samantha Power will co-chair the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Governing Council with Indian Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Pramod Kumar Mishra for a two-year term.

March 25, 2022: Quad Senior Cyber Group meets in Sydney to strengthen cybersecurity cooperation and bolster the resilience of critical infrastructure.

March 25, 2022: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits India and meets Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

March 25, 2022: Undersecretary of State Nuland travels to India and meets senior officials, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders.

March 30, 2022: Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Quad discusses cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, including maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

March 30, 2022: Secretary Blinken meets with Minister Jaishankar to discuss bilateral cooperation pertaining to the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, shared efforts in the Indo-Pacific, and the global economy.

March 30, 2022: Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles Piyush Goyal meets US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics and G20 Sherpa Daleep Singh. They discussed bilateral economic and strategic ties.

March 30, 2022: Shringla meets Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh to discuss economic cooperation and strategic partnership in global issues of mutual interest, including the G20.

April 1, 2022: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits India from March 31-April 1, 2022 and meets with Jaishankar. Lavrov expresses appreciation for India’s neutral stand on Ukraine.

April 5, 2022: Blinken meets Jaishankar ahead of 2+2 consultations to discuss developments in Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific.

April 7, 2022: Secretary Blinken marks 75 years of US-India diplomatic relations.

April 7, 2022: Sandhu meets Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf to discuss bilateral cooperation in affordable healthcare, food standards, and sharing best practices.

April 8, 2022: First batch of Indian Navy pilots and sensor operators graduates from US Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41 in San Diego.

April 8, 2022: Deputy Economic Minister Counselor of the US Embassy in India John Speaks and Economic Officer of the US Consulate-General in Chennai Dustin Bickel meet Scientific Secretary of the Indian Space Research Organisation Shantanu Bhatawdekar to discuss US-India ties in space.

April 9, 2022: White House Press Secretary Psaki says that President Biden believes that the US-India partnership is the most important relationship the US has in the world.

April 10, 2022: Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh meets aerospace and defense majors Boeing and Raytheon in Washington, DC.

April 11, 2022: Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meet Jaishankar and Singh for the fourth US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington, DC to discuss the bilateral strategic partnership. On the same day, Austin hosts Singh at the Pentagon to discuss the developing defense partnership. Blinken and Jaishankar meet to exchange views on the global situation, regional hotspots, and bilateral cooperation. 

April 11, 2022: President Biden meets virtually with Modi to discuss deepening ties between both governments, economies, and people. They commit to strengthening the bilateral “defense, economic, and people-to-people relationship to together seek a peaceful and prosperous world.”

April 11, 2022: State Department releases a statement reaffirming continued cooperation “with India and Quad partners to advance coordination on development assistance, post-pandemic economic recovery, and combating climate change while promoting prosperity, security, and rule of law throughout the Indo-Pacific.”

April 11, 2022: State Department announces that the US and India have “agreed to launch new supply chain-cooperation measures” to “more swiftly support each other’s priority defense requirements.” It also announces that the two countries have signed a Space Situational Awareness arrangement.

April 12, 2022: Blinken, Assistant Secretary of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Dept. of State Lee Satterfield, and Jaishankar speak at Howard University on the importance of US-India cooperation in research and education, an important driver of people-to-people ties. They announce a Working Group on Education and Skill Training for US and Indian academic institutions to develop joint research programs.

April 12, 2022: US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai meets India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar. They notes the re-launch of the US-India Trade Policy Forum last fall, and efforts to strengthen bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

April 12, 2022: Jaishankar meets Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to discuss accelerating the economic partnership, enhancing resilience and reliability of supply chains, and enhancing trust and transparency in business.

April 13, 2022: Minister Singh meets Commander of US Army Pacific (USARPAC) Gen. Charles A. Flynn. They visit training sites located around Oahu.

April 14, 2022: Commander Adm. John C. Aquilino welcomes Minister Singh to Honolulu, where he visits the Headquarters of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and advances bilateral defense collaboration.

April 14, 2022: Shringla meets a US Congressional delegation led by Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of the Armed Forces Committee, and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan and Reps Austin Scott. The meeting covers bilateral cooperation, including opportunities for enhanced trade and investments, defense and security, as well as regional and global issues of interest.

April 18, 2022: Indian Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman visits Washington for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the G20 Finance Ministers, and Central Bank Governor meeting, and other investment meetings.

April 20, 2022: Sitharaman and Sandhu host heads and senior officials from the White House, National Security Council, US Treasury, USAID, World Bank, IMF, US Trade and Development Agency, US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, US-India Business Council, National Science Foundation, the US International Development Finance Corporation, and the State Department. The conversation takes place at the India House in Washington, DC.

April 20, 2022: Sitharaman meets Secretary of Commerce Raimondo in Washington, DC to discuss strengthening economic cooperation in bilateral and global contexts.

April 21, 2022: Jaishankar hosts a US Congressional delegation led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to exchange views on Ukraine, Afghanistan, South Asia, and bilateral cooperation.

April 21, 2022: Spokesperson of India’s Foreign Ministry condemns Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s visit to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on her visit to Pakistan from April 20-24, 2022.

April 22, 2022: Commander of US Army Pacific (USARPAC) Gen. Charles A. Flynn and India’s Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Strategy) Lt. Gen. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma sign the US-India Executive Steering Group minutes. The Executive Steering Group occurs annually and focuses on strategic discussions among senior leaders.

April 23, 2022: Guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen arrives in Goa, India, for a scheduled port visit. The Momsen is deployed to the US 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

April 25, 2022: Adm. Aquilino, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Lindsey W. Ford, and Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger visit New Delhi for the Raisina Dialogue 2022. 

April 25, 2022: Jaishankar expresses a Vote of Thanks at the inaugural session of the Sixth Raisina Dialogue.

April 27, 2022: Aquilino joins a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue entitled “Sabres of Silicon: (Re)assessing a 21st-Century Global Risk Landscape.”

April 27, 2022: US Deputy National Security Advisor of Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger participates in a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue entitled “Diminished Democracies: Big Tech, Red Tech, and Deep Tech.”

April 27, 2022: Aquilino calls on Indian Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari to discuss issues of mutual interest, including joint training and exercises.

April 27, 2022: Aquilino calls on Minister of Finance Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

April 27, 2022: Chief of the Naval Staff Adm. R. Hari Kumar and Aquilino discuss defense cooperation for ensuring a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue. They discuss avenues to further augment existing cooperation between the two navies through capacity enhancement and cooperative engagements.

April 28, 2022: Aquilino calls on Indian Army Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane to discuss ways to enhance existing bilateral defense cooperation. 

April 29, 2022: Aquilino and Australian Department of Defence Chief Gen. Angus Campbell participate in the Raisina Dialogue to discuss collaborative approaches to security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.