Manmohan Singh Visits Washington: Sustaining U.S.–Indian Cooperation Amid Differences

Manmohan Singh Visits Washington: Sustaining U.S.–
Policy Outlook
The United States and India should use Singh’s forthcoming visit to showcase the promise of bilateral cooperation and to foster enhanced partnership in key areas such as nonproliferation and climate change.
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The Obama administration should announce its support for a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the White House next week, contends a new policy brief by Ashley J. Tellis. Although it would produce no immediate results, the bold declaration would signal New Delhi’s growing importance to Washington, and the Obama administration’s recognition of the changing global center of gravity.

During Singh’s visit, both countries will likely announce new programs on areas ranging from agriculture and counterterrorism to medicine, energy, trade, and more. Tellis identifies two areas where cooperation will be most challenging, and most vital: nonproliferation and climate change.


  • India is unlikely to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), leaving a strong possibility that even if the United States ratifies the agreement, it will never come into force. 

  • India’s integration into the global nonproliferation regime remains incomplete. The United States should work to integrate India into global nonproliferation institutions, including the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group, and the Zangger Committee.

  • Though it shares American concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, India has not been asked to do much about the Iranian program. The Obama administration should persuade New Delhi to pressure Tehran to remain engaged in international negotiations, in hopes of achieving a peaceful resolution.

  • Obama’s nuclear security summit next year will be a golden opportunity for the United States and India to collaborate on universal nuclear security standards, but New Delhi will need to overcome its misplaced anxieties about discussing its nuclear program in public.

Climate Change

  • If Obama focuses on persuading Singh to commit to a binding CO2 emissions cap or a multilateral treaty, there will be little hope for cooperation on climate change. Instead, the United States and India should focus on practical initiatives to reduce emissions and improve efficiency in the realms of agriculture, transportation, and infrastructure.

  • The United States should give India access to priority technologies that could reduce its emissions growth.

  • India is not yet convinced that it can play an important role in combating climate change, and does not want to jeopardize its economic growth. But economic progress and sustainable development are compatible, as little-noticed programs by the Singh government have proven. 
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of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.


of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.


charter schools in the United States

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are in North Korea’s possession.


of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.


trillion a year

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of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

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of Europeans and Turks

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of Russian exports to China

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of undiscovered oil

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U.S. government shutdowns

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of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.


million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.


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of the world's population

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million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


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of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

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billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

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of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

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