As the G20 summit in India approaches, all eyes are on the much-anticipated visit of US President Joe Biden to New Delhi. This visit, remarkable for its inclusion in the G20 summit schedule, promises a plethora of significant bilateral engagements aimed at strengthening the ties between India and the United States.
Potential Nuclear Pact and Advances in Energy Cooperation
One of the most substantial aspects of the negotiations between India and the US is the possibility of a nuclear pact centred on small modular nuclear reactors. Both countries are keen on addressing the challenges posed by the civil nuclear liability law and exploring the potential for small reactors, which are considered a more cost-effective alternative to large-scale nuclear projects.
Academic Programs Tailored for Indian Students
In a bid to foster educational ties, India and the US are in discussions regarding academic programs tailored specifically for Indian students. These programs are set to offer STEM courses for a year-long Master's degree with specializations in various industries. Post-graduation, students will have the opportunity to work in the US for up to three years.
Advancements in Defense and Drone Deals
The agenda also includes advancing the GE jet engines deal that was initiated during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington in June.
With the US Congress approving the deal recently, the two nations are working to expedite the conclusion of this significant agreement. Additionally, discussions regarding a "Security of Supply arrangement" and a "Reciprocal Defense Procurement agreement" are underway.
Joint Humanitarian Aid for Ukraine
While India and the US have had differing stances on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they are considering a joint humanitarian aid mission to Ukraine. India has already contributed approximately 100 tons of humanitarian aid, consisting of essential medicines, medical equipment, blankets, tents, and food.
This joint effort would send a strong message to Moscow, although the proposal is yet to be finalized.
A Liberal Visa Regime and New Consulates
Indian nationals holding H1-B visas may soon witness a significant boost, as the two nations are working on launching a pilot to adjudicate domestic renewals of specific petition-based temporary work visas. This initiative aims to streamline the visa renewal process and potentially expand it to other visa categories.
Furthermore, both countries plan to commence the establishment of new consulates, with the US setting up consulates in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, while India plans to open one in Seattle. This move is expected to enhance diplomatic and business ties between the regions and will be accompanied by the announcement of two new consulates in the US.
President Biden's visit to India holds immense historical significance as he becomes the first US President to visit the country since Donald Trump in February 2020. This visit serves as a testament to the growing importance of the India-US relationship and the shared commitment to advancing cooperation on various fronts.
Bilateral Visits during the G20 Summit
Traditionally, G20 summits do not include bilateral visits. However, India has made a notable exception for the US President and the Saudi Crown Prince, underlining the special nature of their relationships. This decision underscores the significance of the discussions and deliverables expected from President Biden's visit.
President Biden's multiple visits to India in different capacities have laid the foundation for a visit that builds upon the progress made in the India-US relationship. It is aimed at further enhancing cooperation and collaboration in various domains, reflecting the mutual commitment to strengthening ties.
President Biden's visit to India for the G20 summit represents a pivotal moment in the bilateral relationship between the two nations. With a diverse array of deliverables on the agenda, ranging from nuclear pacts and educational programs to defence deals and humanitarian aid missions, both India and the United States are poised to advance their partnership and pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous future together. This visit serves as a testament to the enduring friendship between these two democratic giants and their shared vision for a more secure and prosperous world.