U.S.-India Cooperation, Aligned Across the Globe

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 22, 2015


Since the launch of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in 2010, the United States and India have dramatically expanded their political and economic cooperation in line with their natural alliance. This year’s inaugural meeting of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue reflects the growth of that relationship and closer collaboration on global issues. U.S.-India cooperation, which President Obama has called a “defining partnership of the 21st century,” today spans nearly every area of human endeavor, the length of the globe, and into the global commons. Highlights of this cooperation include:

Diplomatic Cooperation:

  • The United States and India today announced a new Diplomacy Partnership between the Department of State and the Ministry of External Affairs with the goal of more closely aligning our strategic perspectives, diplomatic training, and engagements around the world.
  • The Diplomacy Partnership includes a new Policy Planning Dialogue to share perspectives on strategic challenges and opportunities.
  • The Diplomacy Partnership also will familiarize the two sides’ diplomatic corps with each other through site visits by institute staff and diplomats, and by the exchange of best practices in diplomatic training.
  • As part of the Diplomacy Partnership, the United States and India will strengthen and expand their consultations on the full range of regional and functional diplomatic issues. These consultations include the first meeting of the UN and Multilateral Dialogue in February 2015, the first meeting of the Space Security Dialogue in March 2015, and the first meeting of the Dialogue on Africa in April 2015.

Defense Cooperation:

  • Ten years ago, defense trade between the United States and India was virtually non-existent. Over the last few years, the U.S. has signed more than $10 billion in defense sales to India.
  • These capabilities have strengthened India’s role as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean Region. For example, India’s Air Force used American manufactured C-130s and C-17 aircraft to evacuate Indian and third country nationals from Yemen and speed relief supplies to Nepal after the devastating April 2015 earthquake.
  • U.S. and Indian businesses have partnered on the co-development of defense equipment, establishing a base from which to launch new Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) co-development and co-production efforts in the future and expand the Indian defense industrial base.
  • The complexity of joint military exercises has increased in the last 10 years. As an example, exercise YUDH ABHYAS has grown from a squad and platoon-level exercise to a company/battalion-level maneuver exercise, including a brigade-level computer simulation exercise where the U.S. and Indian armies operate together. This year, the U.S.-India naval exercise MALABAR will be a complex, multilateral exercise welcoming the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force for the second consecutive year.
  • The United States and India signed a renewed 10-year Defense Framework in June 2015. The new Framework provides avenues for high level strategic discussions, continued exchanges between armed forces of both countries, and strengthening capabilities.

Commerce:

  • Two-way trade has increased nearly three-fold from $36 billion in 2005 to $104 billion in 2014. Similarly, U.S. investments in India have increased from a total FDI stock of $7.7 billion in 2004 to $28 billion today.
  • Travel for tourism, business, and education has seen unprecedented growth: a 152% increase in overall visa applications for Indians wishing to travel to the U.S., reaching a total of over one million applications in FY 2015. Visa applications for Indian students have increased by 202% to 92,156 in FY 2015. U.S. visitors to India have nearly doubled from 611,165 visitors in 2005 to 1,123,444 in 2015.

People-to-People Ties:

  • Indian students account for the second-largest group of foreign students in the United States, with approximately 102,673 students studying in the United States in 2013-14. Through the program Passport to India, the U.S. government encourages American students to study abroad in India. At the same time, more than a million Americans traveled to India in 2013, and more than 4,000 Indians applied for student visas at U.S. diplomatic facilities in India on a single day in May 2015. The U.S. welcomes increased educational cooperation between American and Indian students and faculty.
  • Our close connections extend deep into both Indian and American society. The Indian diaspora has made enormous contributions to every facet of American society, contributing its talents and ingenuity at the tech start-ups of Silicon Valley, the lecture halls and labs of premier educational institutions, the board rooms of Fortune 500 companies, and the corridors of Washington and across the nation.
  • The U.S. and India continue to engage in numerous exchange programs in the arts, sports, science, and more, which support civil society, economic development, and engagement on many areas of mutual cooperation. The Fulbright-Nehru Program, 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), and other programs are among the premier venues for cooperation.

Space:

  • Cooperation on space science has expanded significantly - from collaboration on projects that measure aspects of Earth’s oceans and global precipitation, to recent success on a mission to Mars, to working jointly on a satellite project that will help scientists understand climate change and natural disasters.

Agriculture:

  • In 2015, U.S.-India agricultural and food trade is on track to quintuple in value compared to 2005, exceeding $6 billion. Due in part to sustained USDA Cooperator marketing activities and USDA programs, U.S. agricultural exports to India are poised to achieve a new record high in 2015.
  • The United States and India have substantially expanded cooperation in agricultural science and research activities over the past decade. Since 2005, USDA has sponsored 112 Indian agricultural researchers under the Borlaug Fellowship Program, and 79 fellows under the Cochran Fellowship Program. These figures include 21 participants in the two programs in 2015.

Health:

  • In 2012, CDC, through its GDD India Center located at India’s National Centre for Disease Control, established the India Epidemic Intelligence Service program (EIS). This is a post-graduate field training program modeled after the U.S. EIS. The creation and growth of a cadre of field epidemiologists will significantly impact public health in India, providing the necessary health workforce to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.
  • CDC engages with the Indian government towards the goal of an AIDS free generation through the PEPFAR program and on Global Health Security objectives through its joint Global Disease Detection Center with the Indian National Centre for Disease Control.
  • NIH has collaborated with Indian government and academic institutions for more than 40 years on basic Science and clinical research, including through Centers of Excellence on‎ tuberculosis and a new MOU on cancer research, treatment, and prevention. HHS is engaged with the GOI on traditional medicine, health information systems, and is launching a new collaboration on mental health.
  • India is the second largest exporter of drugs to the United States. In 2014, India held 13% share of the total 64,170 imported lines of pharmaceuticals. USFDA works closely with Indian industry and regulators to ensure the safety, quality, and efficacy of these generic medicines that reach U.S. consumers

Development Cooperation:

  • The United States and India signed a Statement of Guiding Principles on Triangular Cooperation for Global Development in November 2014. This provides a framework for promoting greater cooperation in addressing development in Asia and Africa, and in strengthening connectivity in Asia.
  • The United States and India will continue leveraging science, technology, and innovation to address shared challenges in multiple sectors including agriculture, nutrition, health, clean and renewable energy, women’s empowerment, disaster preparedness, water, sanitation, and education.
  • Initial efforts include continued training for African government, private sector, and academic professionals in food processing; and expanding collaboration in support of women’s empowerment.