Is India a US Ally? - Answers

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Is India a US Ally?

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World map showing US & its Allies and India

India is currently not considered a Major non-NATO Ally (MNNA) by the United States.

Under Section 2350a(f)(2) of Title 10 of the United States Code, the US government recognizes a number of countries (which are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) as close allies. These countries harbor strong strategic working relationships with the US and are called the MNNA. In theory, being recognized as an MNNA does not guarantee a defense alliance but in practice, the US does offer military and economic support to its non-NATO allies. Here’s a list of the states that were declared MNNA by the US –

By President George H. W. Bush –

Year Country Named MNNA
1989 Australia
South Korea

Named by President Bill Clinton –

Year Country Named MNNA
1996 Jordon
1997 New Zealand
1998 Argentina

By President George W. Bush –

Year Country Named MNNA
2002  Bahrain
2003  Philippines
2004  Kuwait

Named by Barack Obama –

Year Country Named MNNA
2012  Afghanistan
2015  Tunisia

Apart from these the US government has always held that Taiwan should be treated as an MNNA and recently Israel was designated a major strategic ally, a new class of ally altogether.
Here are some of the reasons India does not make it to this list of allies despite sharing excellent bilateral ties with the US –

  • India’s multipronged diplomatic strategy when it comes to trade, defense, and strategic ties does not make it a suitable candidate for a polarized strategic alliance with the United States. Instead of aligning with any particular nation, India follows a policy of engagement with any country willing to maintain harmonious diplomatic, trade and cultural relations.
  • Historically, India has maintained close ties with Russia. Since the Cold War era, USSR and later Russia have been regarded with a sense of distrust by the US.
  • Most of the countries considered MNNA by the US host overseas military bases of the United States. India is not likely to allow the presence of any foreign military base on its soil. Pakistan is already a designated MNNA allowing for NATO’s participation in the operations in Afghanistan. India’s location is not quite as strategic for the US or for NATO in these operations.

The US and India are both large and stable democracies. The two nations share a common agenda in their fight against terrorism. The two nations thrive on the strength of their diversity and cultural wealth. The two nations have what may best be described as a successful partnership based on the recognition of mutual strengths. The two nations also cooperate on a number of strategic issues. In the traditional sense of the word, however, India is not a ‘official’ US ally.

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