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No substantial, sustained economic reforms in two years of Modi government: CRS report

While being critical of Indian government's economic measures, the report was optimistic about Indo-US defence cooperation.

By: PTI | Washington | Published: June 18, 2016 8:37:15 am
india, us, india us relations, india us ties, crs report, india us crs report, india defence partner us, national defence authorization act, ndaa, modi us visit, pm modi us visit, india news U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi walking together. (Source: AP Photo/)

Many US policymakers and stakeholders are concerned that neither the Indian government’s “rhetoric” nor America’s bilateral engagement with it has led to substantial economic reforms in India, according to a report by US Congress’ research wing.

“Two years into the Modi administration, many US policymakers and stakeholders are concerned that neither the Indian government’s rhetoric nor bilateral engagement has led to substantial, sustained economic reforms in India, superseding earlier optimism about the likelihood of expanding Indo-US commercial ties,” the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in a brief report on India.

Others, meanwhile, argue that incremental reforms have occurred, the report said.

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While being critical of the government’s economic measures, the report was optimistic about Indo-US defence cooperation.

“US-India security cooperation has blossomed in the 21st century despite a concurrent US military alliance with India’s rival Pakistan,” the report said.

CRS is an independent and bipartisan research wing of the US Congress which prepares periodic reports on issues of interest for the lawmakers to take informed decision. This is not an official report or view point of the Congress.

“US diplomats rate military cooperation among the most important aspects of transformed bilateral relations, view the bilateral defence partnership as “an anchor of global security” and extol India’s growing role as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean Region,” it said.

Co-authored by K Alan Kronstadt, specialist in South Asian affairs and Shayerah Ilias Akhtar, specialist in International Trade and Finance, the CRS Insight on India was prepared for US lawmakers ahead of the Washington visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week.

The report dated June 6, a copy of which was seen by PTI on Thursday, refers to the number of pro-India legislations pending in both chambers of the US Congress in particular those related to the bilateral defence relationship.

In 2005, the US and India signed a 10-year defence framework agreement to expand bilateral security cooperation; the agreement was renewed for another decade in 2015.

“In April 2016, the US Secretary of Defence was in India for his fourth meeting with his Indian counterpart in 14 months, producing a joint statement with priorities for the coming year, including expanding collaboration under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and New Delhi’s Make in India efforts,” the report said.

Many observe that Indo-US trade ties are at an all-time high with total trade crossing USD 100 billion, investment trending upward and multi-pronged economic cooperation. Yet, many also see greater potential given India’s position as the world’s third-largest and fastest-growing economy, it said.

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