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New FICCI report on Indo-US relationship highlights uptick in trade, defence and diaspora ties 

First Post , Jul 08, 2017

Finally, fresh data on Indo - US relationship - via FICCI and East West Centre.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has partnered with The East West Centre in the US to crank out a timely and much needed update to the data that inform the Indo-US engagement across social and economic spheres.

This time, both India and the US during the Modi-Trump summit in Washington DC went the distance to shine a light on how many jobs are supported by bilateral trade. The FICCI report goes a step further and lists out a statewise break up for many of the trade verticals.

Titled "India matters for America, America matters for India", the report highlights eight crucial intersects: Security, trade, jobs arising from that trade, investment flows, Indian American diaspora and an interesting addition to a typical Indo-US longlist - “sister relationships” between states and cities in the US and India.

The FICCI report’s comparison of the two countries’ GDP and per capita data is telling. With a population of 321 million, US GDP is $18 trillion while India has a 1.3 billion population and GDP of $ 2.1 trillion.

Just for context on data and scale, just New York State’s GDP alone is at least half or a tad more than 50% of India's GDP.

New York State’s GDP was $1.4 trillion. On an inflation-adjusted basis from 2009, the State’s real GDP was $1.28 trillion.

On military expenditure as a percentage of GDP, India is inching towards the American gold standard - US is at 3.3% while India weighs in at 2.4%.

It takes just under 6 days to start a business in the US, the corresponding number for India is 26 days.

Defense trade between the two countries has ballooned to over $ 15 billion now. India and US collaborate on at least 10 different military exercises and India has bought 6 varieties of defence equipment from the US since 2000 - C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, P-8I Poseidon ASW aircraft, RGM-84L Harpoon-2 anti-ship missile, C-17A Globemaster-3 heavy transport aircraft, AH-64D Apache combat helicopter and the CH-47F Chinook transport helicopter.

US exports amounted to $21.5 billion in goods and $18.1 billion in services to India in 2015. The United States is the top destination for Indian goods, accounting for 14% of India’s goods exports.

Within this, the subset of state-wise trade is illuminating.

Montana, up north west in the US, grew its trade with 62% between 2004 and 2015.

For Missouri in the US midwest, India is the fastest growing export market with an annual uptick of 23%.

Another western state Nevada pegs India as its 3rd largest goods export market in 2016.

US goods imports from India increased from $11 billion in 2000 to almost $45 billion in 2015.

“Every US state exports to India, and these exports support more than 260,000 jobs directly and indirectly. Thirty-one states have more than 1,000 jobs dependent on exports to India, while an additional six states have 10,000 jobs or more. Per capita, exports to India support the most jobs in Maine, Nevada, the District of Columbia, New York, and California. Exports to India comprise the greatest percentage of export-dependent jobs in Nevada, New York, West Virginia, California, and the District of Columbia”, says the FICCI report.

The student population in the US grew 25% year on year with a total of 166,000 Indian students in the United States during the 2015/16 academic year and contributed over $5 billion to the economy - these numbers have been confirmed by the White House too.

A senior White House official said Indian students in the US support 64,000 jobs in the country.

According to the FICCI report, Indian students make up 16% of all international students in the United States.

As for the diaspora, Indian Americans are the third largest Asian ethnic group in the United States after the Chinese and Filipinos. The 3.5 million strong Indian American community makes up approximately 18% of the Asian American population in the United States.

Shalabh Kumar of the Republican Hindu Coalition who raised $10 million for Donald Trump before the 2016 election claims that 1 million “Hindu Americans” swithced camps and voted Trump in 2016.