[As far as the US is concerned, the red carpet welcome extended to Modi,
the Indian Prime Minister -- despite the glaring issue of severe democracy
deficit -- is, understandably, on account of three factors.

I. "Strategic": As a very useful partner in the game to keep the burgeoning
China -- both militarily and economically -- in check.
II. Economic:
AA. India is, of course, a vast market. Apart from everything else, it's
also the biggest arms importer on the globe (ref.: <
BB. It has also unmistakably emerged as a potential manufacturing hub which
may be in a position to rival/displace China.
Here, one has to keep in mind that China's own, allegedly, terrible records
didn't impede the US in developing close trading relations with and even
facilitating it to grow to become by far the biggest manufacturing hub
An authoritarian ruler may in fact be considered helpful, or even
necessary, to push the cost of production down.
Not to mistake, even otherwise, the US has a long history of nurturing
cordial relations with Saudi Arabia or propping up a number of despots in
its own backyard (and also elsewhere).
III. In addition to the above two obvious abiding ("bipartisan")
attractions, there, it seems, is also an immediate third driver for Biden.
It's the lure -- particularly in the context of the coming Presidential
poll -- of being in the good books of the voters of Indian origins, which
has grown fairly large by now.]

<<I think for both sides, the other is an increasingly important partner in
this new world that’s emerging. And I think what you see in the joint
statement [<
is a lot of strategic convergence. China is the glue, there’s no question.
Both sides are increasingly bothered by what China’s rise means, how China
has behaved, but it’s more than that. From an Indian point of view, I think
the US is an essential partner in India’s transformation. If we want to
build a modern, technologically capable state, then I think you can’t do
that if you have bad relations with both of the two biggest economies in
the world and certainly the source, the major source of technology in the
world is the US today. So, there is that congruence on technology.

>From the US point of view – and for me this is the qualitative change that
I see. There aren’t very many places where you can actually use technology
and manufacture cheaply. Not just, I don’t mean just assembly, but where
you can actually find process engineers; find firms which are capable of
helping you to produce things cheaply. Producing outside China, when you go
to Japan or Korea or Western Europe or America, these are all expensive
places to work in. So, India offers more than just the market. It offers,
today, since it’s developed and grown and changed so much in the last 30
years… therefore, it offers a place where you can actually start thinking
seriously of some co-production; of locating some manufacturing and that’s
a thread that runs through the joint statement. If you look at most of
these technological things that they’re talking about, ultimately from an
Indian point of view, the aim is to produce in India. But, it would mean
integrating into global value chains and supply chains, most of which
originate one way or the other in the US – or end in the US. So, for me,
that’s the big advance, if there is one.

And the deal is simple, frankly. We agree on how the world looks; we’re
both worried about the same thing, so you see the reference to the Quad
right at the beginning; you see what they both say about the Indo-Pacific;
you’ve seen the speeches that they’ve made. But more than the geopolitics I
think, there’s now also an economic basis. Because for a long time, it was
the politics that drove the relationship, not so much the economic
complementarity. But, by bringing high-tech into it, I think you’re now
seeing much more. Now, that means both sides have to, I think find a new
balance in that economic relationship. It’s not easy because protectionism
has risen on both sides. So there is a lot of work still to be done to
realise this.

Just so we understand clearly, in the area of defence and critical emerging
technologies, part of the political economy of de-risking – if that’s the
current trend on the part of the US – is to look for partners which are
much less risky than say, of course China, but also Taiwan, Vietnam –
places that may be vulnerable to disruption in a way that India perhaps
would not be.

Yeah. I think you’re right and for any company that’s looking for a “China
plus one” strategy, it’s not necessarily moving things out of China but
looking to hedge their bets, then India is a logical place to come and
India has been growing. India looks today as a good, as a very good

(Excerpted from: <

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