India US relations have never been better, and they are important to Australia as they help to balance China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.
India is an essential component of the US’s Indo–Pacific Strategy that revolves around balancing China’s influence. Trump had a good personal relationship with Indian Prime Minister Modi. The US-India relationship continues to be strengthened by Biden, who has:
- Had multiple virtual meetings with Modi.
- Sent his Defence Secretary, Army Chief of Staff, and Commander Special Ops to India.
- Supported over 60 dialogue mechanisms.
- Encouraged coalitions (including the Quad) to counter China.
- Sent his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to India, who described the US-India relationship as ‘one of the most consequential on earth’.
- Blinken stressed the need to work together on COVID, climate change, Afghanistan and technology.
Relationship flashpoints are:
- US domestic pressure regarding Indian human rights, anti–Muslim legalisation and democracy issues.
- American media and progressives are questioning Indian ‘worthiness’ as a US partner.
- Potential US mediation on the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
Blinken has been diplomatic in raising the question of values and ethics without being seen to be too critical of the Indian government.