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PM Modi’s Crucial Visit to the US: Prioritizing Defense and Critical Tech

PM Modi will attend Congress' joint session for the second time in nine years

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UNITED STATES/INDIA: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit the United States for a pivotal trip, focusing on defence industry cooperation and technology sharing. The visit is expected to strengthen global politics, commerce, and economics, providing India with essential American technologies that Washington rarely shares with non-allies.

Since the end of the Cold War, Washington and New Delhi’s relationship, which was characterised by mutual scepticism, has been improving as succeeding American presidents have shown bipartisan backing of tighter links with the region’s growing economies and power.

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The US views India as a crucial partner in countering China’s global influence and maintaining security in the Indo-Pacific. Washington also seeks to distance India from its defence ally, Russia, while New Delhi continues to conduct business with Moscow and import cheap Russian oil.

India has turned towards the West amid military concerns and deteriorating relations with China. In a 2016 speech to the US Congress, Modi announced his first official state visit to the US, marking a turning point in the relationship. This is India’s third visit to the US under Joe Biden’s presidency, and Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra praised it as a significant and essential visit.

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Kwatra claims that a significant achievement in the area of military cooperation, particularly between the militaries of the two countries, would be highlighted as India seeks to enhance the local manufacturing of weapons and equipment for both domestic use and export.

During Prime Minister Modi’s visit, major announcements are expected, including US approval for General Electric to manufacture engines for India’s fighter jets, India’s $3 billion purchase of 31 armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones, and removal of US barriers preventing easier trade in defence and technology. 

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Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs Ely Ratner believes this visit will serve as a springboard for the US-India relationship, particularly in defence issues.

According to an Indian official, India is seeking to become a security exporter, benefiting the United States. Cooperation in semiconductors, cybersecurity, aerospace, strategic infrastructure, communication, commercial space projects, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence in industry and defence are also considered.

Modi will attend Congress’ joint session for the second time in nine years during a three-day visit starting in New York on June 21. He will also host a state dinner and private family dinner with President Biden.

Modi will lead a celebration for International Yoga Day at the UN headquarters and meet with American CEOs.

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