Indo-US ties have never been stronger, with America’s national interests increasingly convergent across Asia, the Trump administration has told the US Congress. “On the prosperity front, India’s dynamic economy and Central Asia’s rich energy resources promise that the region can be a key driver of global prosperity over the coming decades,” the State Department yesterday said in the Trump administration’s maiden budget proposals to the Congress.
It said the US-India relationship has never been stronger, with the US national interests increasingly convergent across Asia.
The State Department said there have been promising shifts towards democracy in much of South Asia in the last two years, presenting opportunities for the US and its partners in the region to pursue the goal of a South and Central Asia region with more accountable and inclusive governance and sustainable economic development.
The maiden annual budget of the Trump administration’s South and Central Asia (SCA) wing of the State Department supports two major regional initiatives: the New Silk Road (NSR) focused on Afghanistan and its neighbours, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South Asia with Southeast Asia.
“As the transition in Afghanistan continues and the US strives to help the Afghan people succeed and stand on their own, the importance of achieving progress on the NSR grows. SCA’s request will be leveraged through side-by-side collaboration with the countries in the region, other bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, and the private sector,” it said.
While India is not a major recipient of the US assistance, the budget proposes several financial assistance to India.
For instance, the State Department proposes $11 million funding to support efforts to strengthen the capacity of India’s health workforce and enhance the quality of data for government and local decision-making.
Funds will increase access and availability of skilled providers for deliveries, antenatal care, and vitamin A supplementation and immunisations for children, it said.
Proposing a $0.4 million towards Export Control and Related Border Security, the State Department said it will increase the government of India’s non-proliferation capacity and enhance its export control enforcement and targeting capabilities.
Funding will be used to continue to support the implementation of the US-India Export Control Cooperation Roadmap and follow-on activities, the budgetary proposals said.
The State Department has also proposed $2 million as Anti-terrorism Assistance, which it said will reinforce coordination achieved through dialogues such as the Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative Framework and bilateral Counter-terrorism Joint Working Group by enhancing coordination between the US and Indian law enforcement authorities to protect both countries’ citizens and interests from terrorist groups.