Authors

Akhil Ramesh

Resident Vasey Fellow, Pacific Forum
Photo of Akhil Ramesh

Akhil Ramesh (IND) holds an M.S. with a concentration in global macroeconomics from New York University in New York, a certificate in business and geopolitics from HEC Paris, France and a BBA from Amity University, India. Born and raised in India, Akhil started his career in the Philippines, and over the past seven years, he has lived and worked across three continents, wearing different hats with risk consulting firms, think tanks and governments. Most recently, he worked with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on geo-economic issues in southern India. Prior to that, based out of New York City, worked as a project coordinator and lead of the mapping project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative at the EastWest Institute. With research interests at the nexus of geoeconomics and security policy, he is currently working on a number of projects related to infrastructure development in Asia, supply chains, grand strategy in the Indo-Pacific. His analysis has been widely published across global and regional journals such as Nikkei Asia, South China Morning Post, The Hill, The Diplomat, National Interest, Economic Times and Hindustan Times.

Articles by Akhil Ramesh
Relations at 75: Hawaii to the Himalayas

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

Like the saying, “after the storm comes the calm,” US-India relations witnessed four months of productive talks, cooperation, and collaboration. This contrasted with the previous trimester, mired as it was by Cold-War era differences brought about by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. There were thriving Indo-Pacific synergies and the decline of Cold War-era differences. The US and India continued and expanded cooperation on a wide array of regional and global issues, such as climate change, supply chains, and the Sri Lankan crisis. They solidified their defense partnership from Hawaii to the Himalayas through navy and military exercises. The US turned down pressure on India over Russian oil purchases and recalibrated the dialogue to address other pressing challenges. They did not avoid tough conversations, however. India reinforced its view of the US and other Western nations’ role in keeping the Indo-Pacific a safer and more open region.

While minor differences remain, the two democracies found common ground in addressing what they both consider to be the most pressing challenges: China’s belligerent actions and the existential threat of climate change. Their targeted actions to address the two issues became more overt and coordinated. Through the launch of initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the Biden administration reentered the Asian economic architecture—though not through a trade agreement—bringing otherwise-hesitant economies, including India, into the fold.

Domestically, Biden and Modi were both preoccupied with amending historic injustices and preparing their societies and economies for 21st century challenges.

Cold-War Era Differences & Indo-Pacific Synergies

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.