The U.S. and India are the world’s two largest democracies, and their relationship today is focused narrowly with security as the primary concern. They share a broad view of the threats that China poses, and agree on much of what to do about it in “the Indo-Pacific,” which is the vast ocean from the east coast of Africa to the west coast of the U.S. To keep the Indo-Pacific safe and open, the U.S. and India in 2017 along with Australia and Japan revived the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad). Also, military equipment sales, joint military exercises, and technological collaboration have all increased between the U.S. and India. On a personal level, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi appear friendly and seem to mutually respect each other.
Looming over the India-U.S. relationship is China, which has become more assertive in recent years. In October 2019 Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi held a summit, where they agreed to work closely in 2020. Their respective officials outlined some 70 joint activities. However, beginning in April 2020, Chinese and Indian soldiers began facing off at several points along the border-- The Line of Actual Control (LAC)-- between the Ladakh region of India and Tibet, which is an autonomous region in China. On June 15, in a skirmish 20 Indian soldiers were killed along with an undetermined number of Chinese. Each country blamed the other one for starting the violence, which was the first deadly clash on the Chinese-Indian border since October 1975.
India and China had fought a full-fledged war in 1962. The 2,100-mile-boundary line between India and China has never been formally agreed upon so the LAC was devised after the 1962 war to create a demarcation line and to ease tensions.
Given the ongoing disputes along the LAC, should the U.S and India broaden their cooperation beyond security matters to counter China’s aggressiveness? Our speaker is eminently qualified to address this question and India-U.S. relations. Tanvi Madan is a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program, and director of The India Project at the Brookings Institution (BI). Madan’s work explores India’s role in the world and its foreign policy, focusing in particular on India's relations with China and the U. S.
Madan is the author of the 2020 book Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped US-India Relations during the Cold War. She is currently completing a monograph on India’s foreign policy diversification strategy, and researching her next book on the China-India-US triangle.
Madan has her B.A. in history from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, M.A. in international relations from Yale University, and Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin, where she served as an instructor. She has authored numerous publications on India’s foreign policy and has been cited by media outlets such as the Economist, Financial Times, N.Y. Times, and the Washington Post. She has also appeared on numerous news shows.
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Save the Date: November 12, 2020
Mark Brzezinski, Former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, Topic to be Determined