One day before Trump's impeachment, India and US agreed on the following

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald TrumpIANS

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a week-long visit to the US when the news of President Donald Trump’s impeachment vote hit the stands.
  • Amidst the domestic crises in both countries, they were able to sign off on multiple landmark agreements during the 2+2 dialogue.
  • The agreements include cooperation across defence, space, and environment.
When the news of Donald Trump’s impeachment vote broke, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was already on a week-long visit to the US. Despite all the ' noise and silliness', the two countries were able to sign off on some landmark agreements — including one that involves sharing classified military information. But no trade deal made it past the table.

A day later on December 18, the House of Representatives voted to push Trump out of office charging him with ‘abuse of power’. And, he was impeached with more votes against him than any other US President. Now, it’s up to the Senate to approve his removal from office.

Even though over 700 historians ‘strongly’ endorse Trump’s impeachment, the Trump-Modi era was one of success for India, according to experts. Amidst domestic crisis in their respective countries — Trump’s call for impeachment and nation-wide protests in India over the Citizenship Act — the administrations were able to bolster bilateral ties.
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Bilateral agreements between US and India Business Insider India

These are the details of some of the top agreements between the Trump and Modi administration:
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​Sharing confidential information to reach $26 billion

​Sharing confidential information to reach $26 billion

Live demonstration by the Indian Army during the Defence Expo 2018 (Source: BCCL)

The newly established framework between the US General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and the Industrial Security Annex (ISA) will the countries to share classified military information within a secure structure.

Access to information exchanged between the two will be restricted to the governments. This means no participation from private players — but it will be used by the government for their benefit.

The aim is to make India’s defence industry hit $26 billion by 2025, and the information exchange will help bolster the Make in India initiative for companies within the defence sector.

"We are also working to encourage greater collaboration between defence manufacturing sectors in India and in the US," said India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

In addition, the two countries finalised three new projects, and the standard operating procedure (SOP) for them, under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). Unlike the ISA, the proposed framework will allow for industry-to-industry exchange of information — which means Indian companies will have the opportunity to learn from the more advanced defence manufacturers in the US.

​Tiger Triumph with all three branches of defence

​Tiger Triumph with all three branches of defence

US Marines have a gala time playing Tug-of-War with the inmates of a girls hostel as part of India-US rri-services HADR Exercise named Tiger Triumph near Yendada in Visakhapatnam (Source: BCCL)

Defence cooperation for technology is only one part of the story. After the success of Humanitarian and Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise in November 2019 — the first-ever tri-exercise ⁠— the two countries have decided to make it an annual event.

‘Tiger Triumph’ calls in all three branches of the defence — army, navy and the air force — from both sides to develop synergies between the countries.
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​Founding member of the Modi’s CDRI

​Founding member of the Modi’s CDRI

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 16th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bangkok (Source: Narenda Modi official website)

The US agreed to be one of the founding members of the Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) — an initiative launched by Modi during the East Asia Summit (EAS), which will be headquartered in New Delhi. “We are working together more closely than many thought possible only a few years ago,” Alice Wells, a US diplomat for South Asia, told AFP

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​Having enough water to go around

​Having enough water to go around

Water being released from the Nagarjuna dam in Hyderabad after heavy inflows from upstream (Source: BCCL)

The exchange of technology isn’t restricted to defence cooperation — US and India also agreed on a new water project to help with water resource management in the face of rising water demand.

The US Geological Survey and India’s Ministry of Jal Shakti will share information on how river basins can be supervised, forecasting floods, improving water quality and other such measures.

Unlike ISA, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for water resource management doesn’t restrict information to government players — the data will also be shared with universities and private industry players.

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​Avoiding explosion in space

​Avoiding explosion in space

ISRO's launch of 104 satellites abroad Polar Launch Satellite Vehicle (PLSV) C-37 (Source: ISRO)

Environmental issues aren’t just restricted to the planet anymore — space is now categorised as Earth’s largest garbage dump. The tens of thousands of pieces of space debris are flying, at over 100 times faster than cars, can cause severe damage to anything that gets in their way⁠— including satellites.

Cooperation in sharing information in Space Situational Awareness (SSA) will allow both countries to manage space traffic. More information means, having a better understanding of potential space debris that could get in the way of a space launch. A collision won’t only destroy the rocket and its cargo, but it would result in a loss of millions of dollars.

It’s one of the reasons why India’s set up its own Network for Space Object Tracking and Analysis (NETRA) to monitor space debris rather than rely exclusively on the data from the North American Defence Command (NORAD).

​And, avoiding wars at sea

​And, avoiding wars at sea

Indian Navy's INS Shakti (Source: BCCL)

It’s just space that’s getting crowded, but the world’s oceans as well. And, everyone wants a piece of the pie. In order to keep things peaceful in the maritime domain, Modi announced the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) at the East Asia Summit in November 2019.

The US, in turn, has expressed its interest in expanding cooperation on issues related to the open seas — especially since China looms close by and has already started expanding its domain over contested territories in the South China Sea.

The two counties are also planning to execute a joint training and capacity building programme for UN peacekeepers from Indo-Pacific countries.

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