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US India Realpolitik: Blinken Talks of ‘Reducing Strategic Dependencies’ At USIBC Event

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US India Realpolitik: Blinken Talks of ‘Reducing Strategic Dependencies’ At USIBC Event


WASHINGTON, DC (IANS) – Secretary of State Antony Blinken on June 12 in the preamble to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming state visit said central to the emerging cooperation in critical technologies between the two countries such as semiconductors and defense was “reducing strategic dependencies”.

Blinken has inserted a new phrase into the narrative around the India-US relationship whose limits have been defined by New Delhi’s pursuit of strategic autonomy, which is a foreign policy construct deployed by India to choose friends without committing itself to anything serious.

“Central to all of this cooperation is diversifying and deepening our supply chains with trusted countries, also reducing strategic dependencies,” Blinken said in remarks to business leaders of the two countries at the start of an annual conference on the relationship of the US-India Business Council, an offshoot of the US Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful of American lobbyists.

Blinken was referring to a recent surge in cooperation between the two countries on emerging critical technologies, which is a dialogue that was flagged off by Prime Minister Modi and President Joe Biden in 2022 and fast-tracked by the two sides in a meeting of National Security Advisers Ajit Doval and Jake Sullivan earlier this year.

This engagement contains the promise of the next big outcome in the relationship, which could be announced during Modi’s visit later in June: joint production of US giant General Electric’s jet engines in India. India currently uses GE jet engines delivered ready for use.

Expanding on the theme of “reducing strategic dependencies”, the top US diplomat spoke of cooperation between the two sides on semiconductors and solar power equipment, the two areas on which the United States has been cutting its dependence on China, especially after the disruption caused by Covid-19.

“My friend and colleague Secretary of Commerce (Gina) Rimondo and her counterpart Minister (Piyush) Goyal, recently established a partnership to make our semiconductor supply chains more resilient.”

He went on to talk about US investment in a solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu. “It will shift a key component of our clean energy supply chains to a close partner. That’s what we mean when we say we are building more resilient, more diversified supply chains,” he added.

Secretary Blinken did not say the US has expectations of India on “reducing strategic dependencies”, but it could be an acknowledgment and acceptance of India’s dependence on Russian oil, which it has been getting at heavily discounted rates for its own use and export, to circumvent US-led western sanctions and arms.

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