On Tuesday, India and the United States issued a 50-paragraph Joint Statement on bilateral cooperation. A curation of its key points, and how they compare with what the two countries said on the same issues when President Barack Obama visited India in January 2015.
On NSG, MTCR, and other n-regimes
2015: US backs India seat on nuclear high table
President Obama and Prime Minister Modi committed to continue to work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wasenaar Arrangement (on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use technologies), and the Australia Group (to check proliferation of chemical and biological weapons). Obama reaffirmed the US position that India met MTCR requirements and was ready for NSG membership, and that it supported India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.
2016: US calls for support to India’s NSG bid
Recalling their shared commitment to preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, the leaders looked forward to “India’s imminent entry” into MTCR. Obama welcomed India’s application to join NSG, and re-affirmed that India was ready for membership. The US called on NSG participating governments to support India’s application when it came up at the NSG Plenary later this month. It also re-affirmed its support for India’s early membership of the Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement.
On Asia Pacific partnership
2015: Joint Strategic Vision to guide engagement
Recognising the important role the countries play in promoting peace, prosperity, stability and security in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, and noting that India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and the US rebalance in Asia provided opportunities for working closely, the leaders announced a Joint Strategic Vision to guide engagement in the region.
2016: India and US resolve to be “priority partners”
The leaders applauded the completion of the roadmap for cooperation under the 2015 US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, which will serve as a guide for collaboration in the years to come. They resolved that the US and India should look at each other as “priority partners” in the Asia Pacific, and in the Indian Ocean region.
‘Major Defence Partners’ now
2015: Need for two-way engagement
The leaders acknowledged the need for a two-way defence engagement to include technology cooperation and collaboration, co-production and co-development.
2016: US support for modi’s ‘Make In India’
Noting that US-India defence relationship can be an anchor of stability, and given the increasingly strength of the defence cooperation, the US recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner” — it will continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. India will receive licence-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with its commitment to advance export control objectives. In support of ‘Make In India’, the US will continue to facilitate export of goods and technologies, consistent with US law, for projects, programmes and joint ventures. New Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) working groups will include items covering naval systems, air systems, and other weapons systems.
On cybersecurity and Internet governance
2015: Cooperation on sharing threat information
The President and the PM noted the serious risks to national and economic security from malicious cyber activity and agreed to cooperate on enhancing operational sharing of cyber threat information, examining how international law applies in cyberspace, and working together to build agreement on norms of responsible state behaviour.
2016: Commitment to open, secure Internet
The leaders emphasised that cyberspace enables economic growth and development, and reaffirmed their commitment to an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet, underpinned by the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. They committed to deepen cooperation on cybersecurity and welcomed the understanding reached to finalise the framework for the US-India Cyber Relationship in the near term. They committed to enhance cyber collaboration on critical infrastructure, cybercrime, and malicious cyber activity by state and non-state actors, capacity building, and cybersecurity research and development, and to continue discussions on all aspects of trade in technology and related services, including market access.
On terrorism cooperation
2015: Call for action against Pak-based groups
The leaders reaffirmed the need for joint and concerted efforts to disrupt entities such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D-Company and Haqqani Network, and reiterated their call to Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks to justice.
2016: Pathankot mentioned, but not Haqqanis
The leaders committed to strengthen cooperation against al-Qaeda, Daesh, Jaish, Lashkar, D-Company, and directed officials to identify specific new areas of collaboration at the next meeting of the Counterterrorism Joint Working Group. They also asked Pakistan to bring perpetrators of the 26/11 and 2016 Pathankot attacks to justice.
On civil nuclear cooperation
2015: Looking forward to progress ‘at the earliest’
Noting that the Contact Group set up in September 2014 to advance implementation of bilateral civil nuclear cooperation had met three times in December 2014 and January 2015, the leaders welcomed the understandings reached on civil nuclear liability and administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, and looked forward to US-built reactors contributing to India’s energy security at the earliest.
2016: Work to begin immediately on 6 reactors
The leaders welcomed the start of on-site preparatory work for 6 AP 1000 reactors to be built by Westinghouse, and noted the intention of India and the US Export-Import Bank to work together for competitive financing. The two sides welcomed the announcement by NPCIL and Westinghouse that engineering and site design work will begin immediately, and they will work toward finalising contractual arrangements by June 2017.
On travel between the two countries
2015: Visa-on-arrival, Global Entry ProgramME
India’s introduction of visa-on-arrival for US citizens and convening of technical discussions to advance India’s membership in the US Global Entry Programme are initiatives aimed at easing travel between India and the US and strengthen people-to-people ties.
2016: Global entry scheme procedure in 3 months
The leaders applauded the strong bonds of friendship between the 1.5 billion peoples of India and the US. They resolved to facilitate greater movement of professionals, investors and business travelers, students, and exchange visitors, and welcomed the signing of an MoU for Development of an International Expedited Traveler Initiative (or Global Entry Programmes) and resolved to complete within 3 months procedures for India’s entry into the programme.
NEW ELEMENT: YOGA
The 2016 Joint Statement noted the urgent need to promote healthy lifestyles, control sugar and salt intake, promote physical activity especially among children and youth, and strengthen efforts to curb tobacco use. The leaders reiterated the importance of holistic approaches to health and wellness, and of promoting the potential benefits of synergising modern and traditional systems of medicine, including yoga.