India

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Overview
With more than a billion people, India is the second most populous country in the world, making it a force to be reckoned with for other nations in the region, in particular, China and India’s longtime enemy, Pakistan. India is also the world’s largest democracy. Relations between India and the United States have fluctuated since the country gained its independence in 1947. During much of the Cold War, the two powers had chilly relations, due to American commitments to Pakistan and India’s close relationship with the Soviet Union. Beginning in the 1980s, however, officials in Washington and New Delhi began to work together to forge stronger economic ties, creating a difficult balancing game for the US, as it has continued its military-oriented relationship with Pakistan. The administration of George W. Bush sought to further strengthen ties with India by lifting a ban on nuclear technology sales. This move has garnered much controversy in the US, India and throughout the world, as critics fear the move will also aid India’s nuclear weapons capability. Others cite India’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as another example why the agreement is a bad idea, as it will make it even tougher for the US to get other non-compliant countries, such as North Korea and Iran, to give up their nuclear ambitions.  For all the importance of the nuclear isse, for most Americans, their closest connection with India is that it is often Indians who answer the phone when Americans call service centers about repairs, questions and past due bills.
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Basic Information
Lay of the Land: India is the large, central portion of the Indian subcontinent, traversed on the northeast by the Himalayas. Modern India consists of four major geographic regions: the northern mountains, including section of the Himalayas; the Ganges and Brahmaputra river valleys, sometimes known historically as Hindustan; the Deccan tableland in central India; and the coastal plains of the Indian Peninsula, sometimes known historically as Tamil Land. Climate varies from tropical monsoon in southern India to temperate in the north. The eastern Assam Hills receive 300 inches of rain annually, while sections of the western Rajasthan Desert get less than 5 inches.
 
Population: 1,148 billion
 
Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Sunni Muslim 12.1%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.8%, Shi'a Muslim 1.3%, other (Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Baha'i) 1.1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%.
 
Languages: National Official Languages: Hindi (official) 30%, English (official). Other Official Languages: Bengali 6.9%, Telugu 6.3%, Marathi 6.2%, Tamil 5.6%, Urdu 4.4%, Gujrati 4.1%, Kannada 3.2%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 2.9%, Punjabi 2.5%, Maithili 2.0%, Assamese 1.4%, Nepali 0.5%, Santhali 0.5%, Kashmiri 0.4%, Konkani 0.4%, Sindhi 0.3%, Dogri 0.2%, Manipuri 0.04%, Bodo 0.005%, and Sanskrit 0.00005%. There are 415 living languages in India.
 

 

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History
The Indus Valley civilization flourished on the Indian subcontinent from 2600 BC to 2000 BC.  The Aryans entered India around 1500 BC and introduced the Sanskrit language and the Vedic religion, a forerunner of Hinduism. Buddhism was founded in the 6th century BC and was spread throughout northern India. India was unified for the first time during the Mauryan dynasty from 269–232 BC.
 
In 1526, Muslim invaders founded the great Mogul Empire, centered in Delhi, which lasted until 1857. Akbar the Great (1542–1605) strengthened and consolidated this empire.
 
Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed in India in 1498, and for the next 100 years Portugal had a virtual monopoly on trade with the subcontinent. Meanwhile, the English founded the East India Company, which set up its first factory at Surat in 1612 and began expanding its influence, fighting Indian rulers along with French, Dutch, and Portuguese traders simultaneously.
 
Bombay became the seat of English rule in 1687. The defeat of French and Mogul armies by Lord Clive in 1757 laid the foundation of the British Empire in India. The East India Company continued to suppress native uprisings and extend British rule until 1858, when the administration of India was formally transferred to the British Crown following the Sepoy Mutiny of native troops in 1857–1858.
 
Indian states sent more than 6 million troops to fight beside the Allies during World War I. After the conclusion of the war, Indian nationalism reached new heights under the leadership of a Hindu lawyer, Mohandas K. Gandhi, called Mahatma Gandhi. His philosophy of civil disobedience called for nonviolent non-cooperation against British authority. He soon became the leading spirit of the Indian National Congress Party, which was the spearhead of revolt. In 1919, the British gave added responsibility to Indian officials, and in 1935, India was given a federal form of government and a measure of self-rule.
 
In 1942, with the Japanese pressing hard on the eastern borders of India, the British tried and failed to reach a political settlement with nationalist leaders. The Congress Party took the position that the British must quit India. Fearing mass civil disobedience, the government of India carried out widespread arrests of Congress Party leaders, including Gandhi.
 
Gandhi was released in 1944, and three years later, India gained full independence. The victory was soured, however, by the assassination of Gandhi on January 30, 1948, and the sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims over the division of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan that sparked the first of several wars between the two countries. The partition of Pakistan and India led to the largest migration in human history, with 17 million people fleeing across the borders in both directions. Armed conflict also broke out over rival claims to the princely states of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
Jawaharlal Nehru, nationalist leader and head of the Congress Party, was made prime minister of India. In 1949, a constitution was approved, making India a sovereign republic. Under a federal structure the states were organized on linguistic lines. In 1956, the republic absorbed former French settlements. Five years later, the republic forcibly annexed the Portuguese enclaves of Goa, Damao, and Diu.
 
Nehru died in 1964 and was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri. The following year, the second war with Pakistan began in April 1965, when fighting broke out in a sparsely inhabited region along the West Pakistan–India border. Fighting spread to Kashmir and to the Punjab, and in September Pakistani and Indian troops crossed the partition line between the two countries and launched air assaults on each other’s cities. The two countries eventually agreed to a UN-sponsored cease-fire and withdrew their forces.
 
Shastri died on January 10, 1966. Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, became prime minister, and she continued his policy of nonalignment.
 
In 1971, the third Indo-Pakistani War broke out when the Pakistani army moved in to quash the independence movement in East Pakistan that was supported by India. Approximately 10 million Bengali refugees poured across the border into India, creating social, economic, and health problems. After numerous border incidents, India invaded East Pakistan and in two weeks forced the surrender of the Pakistani army. East Pakistan was established as an independent state and renamed Bangladesh.
 
On May 18, 1974, India detonated a nuclear device underground at Pokharan in the Rajasthan Desert, confirming suspicions in the West that India was developing nuclear weapons. The blast prompted Pakistan to accelerate its own nuclear weapons effort.
 
On June 12, 1975, a judge in Allahabad, Indira Gandhi's home constituency, found Gandhi's landslide victory in the 1971 elections invalid because civil servants had illegally aided her campaign. Amid demands for her resignation, Gandhi decreed a state of emergency on June 26 and ordered mass arrests of her critics, including all opposition party leaders except the Communists.
 
Despite strong opposition to her repressive measures, particularly resentment against compulsory birth control programs, in 1977 Gandhi announced parliamentary elections for March. At the same time, she freed most political prisoners. The landslide victory of Morarji R. Desai unseated Gandhi, but she staged a spectacular comeback in the elections of January 1980.
 
In 1984, Gandhi ordered the Indian army to root out a band of Sikh holy men and gunmen who were using the most sacred shrine of the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, as a base for terrorist raids in a violent campaign for greater political autonomy in the strategic Punjab border state. The perceived sacrilege to the Golden Temple kindled outrage among many of India’s 14 million Sikhs and brought a spasm of mutinies and desertions by Sikh officers and soldiers in the army.
 
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two men identified by police as Sikh members of her bodyguard. The ruling Congress Party chose her older son, Rajiv Gandhi, to succeed her as prime minister. While running for re-election, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 22, 1991, by Tamil militants who objected to India's mediation of the civil war in Sri Lanka.
 
The ruling Congress Party lost the parliamentary elections of May 1996, and its waning resulted in a period of political instability. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) then became the dominant force in politics, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister.
 
In May 1998, India set off five nuclear tests. Despite international urging for restraint, Pakistan responded by conducting several nuclear tests of its own two weeks later. India has resisted signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for nuclear weapons and has been slapped with sanctions by the US and other countries. Less than a year later, in April 1999, both India and Pakistan tested nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
 
India and Pakistan have held various talks about the disputed territory of Kashmir. India controls two-thirds of this Himalayan region, which is the only Indian state that is predominantly Muslim. The Indian Air Force launched air strikes on May 26, 1999, and later sent in ground troops against Islamic guerrilla forces in Kashmir. India blamed Pakistan for orchestrating violence in Kashmir by sending soldiers and mercenaries across the so-called Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Pakistan countered that the guerrillas were independent Kashmiri freedom fighters struggling for India's ouster from the region. In August 1999, Pakistan was forced to withdraw, but fighting continued sporadically.
 
In October 2001, violence again broke out in the region when a suicide bombing by a Pakistan-based militant organization killed 38 in India-controlled Kashmir. India retaliated with heavy shelling across the Line of Control. India, angered by Washington’s sudden coziness with Pakistan following the Sepember. 11 attacks, took the opportunity to point out that, while Pakistan might be helping the US fight terrorism on the Afghan front, it was simultaneously supporting terrorism on its own border with India. On December 13, 2001, suicide bombers attacked the Indian parliament, killing 14 people. Indian officials blamed the deadly attack on Islamic militants supported by Pakistan.
 
Violent clashes between Muslims and Hindus rocked the state of Gujarat in late February and early March 2002 after a Muslim mob fire-bombed a train, killing 58 Hindu activists. Hindus retaliated, and more than 500 people died in the bloodshed.
 
Hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Kashmir was raised in November 2002, when a newly elected coalition government in India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir vowed to reach out to separatists and to improve conditions in the state. But hopes were dashed in March 2003, following the slaughter of 24 Hindus in Kashmir. Officials blamed the massacre on Islamic militants. Days later, both India and Pakistan test-fired short-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
 
Two bombs exploded in Mumbai (Bombay) on August 25, 2003, killing more than 50 people and injuring about 150. Indian officials blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant Islamic group.
 
In November 2003, India and Pakistan declared their first formal cease-fire in 14 years. The cease-fire applied to the entire Line of Control dividing Kashmir. Relations between the two countries have continued to thaw, although no real progress has been made.
 
In one of the most dramatic political upsets in modern Indian history, the Indian National Congress Party, led by Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, prevailed in parliamentary elections in May 2004, prompting Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to resign. Gandhi, though, refused to become prime minister after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) protested her elevation to the post because of her foreign birth. The Congress Party instead chose former finance minister Manmohan Singh, who became India’s first Sikh prime minister.
 
The December 2004 tsunami that ravaged 12 Asian countries killed nearly 11,000 people in India. The following year, monsoon rains in late July and early August caused devastating landslides and floods that killed about 900 people in and around Mumbai. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck Pakistani-controlled Kashmir on October 8, 2005. More than 81,000 people were killed and 2.5 million left homeless. India suffered about 1,300 casualties.
 
Pratibha Patil, of the governing Congress party, was elected president in July 2007, becoming the country’s first woman to hold the post. She defeated Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, of the opposition BJP.
 
Prime Minister Singh survived a confidence vote on July 23, 2008, taking 275 votes to the opposition's 256.
 
Fighting along Kashmir’s Line of Control broke out over the summer of 2008 after more than four years of relative calm. The problems arose after authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir transferred 99 acres of land to a trust that runs a Hindu shrine, called Amarnath. Muslims launched a series of protests. The government rescinded the order, which outraged Hindus. About 40 people were killed in the protests and counterdemonstrations, which involved several hundred thousand people.
 
India launched its first unmanned spacecraft on October 22 2008, for a two-year mission to map a three-dimensional atlas of the moon and search for natural resources. The spacecraft successfully landed a probe on the moon on November 14, 2008.
 
A Country Study: India (Library of Congress)
History of India (Wikipedia)
Internet Indian History Sourcebook (edited by Paul Halsall, Fordham University)

 

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India's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with India
India’s nonalignment led the United States in 1954 to ally itself with Pakistan in order to secure a pro-Western ally in a region dominated by Communist China and the Soviet Union. The US-Pakistan alliance was renewed in 1959, with accompanying assurances from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the arms supplied to Pakistan would not be used in any aggressive war. When Pakistan and India went to war in 1965, the United States government refused to support India and suspended military transfers to both countries.
 
In 1971 the Nixon administration initiated a new relationship with China, while the Indian government of Indira Gandhi signed a friendship treaty with the Soviet Union to counteract United States and Chinese influence in South Asia. As the situation in East Pakistan deteriorated, India was unable to convince the United States to cease arms deliveries to Pakistan and persuade Pakistan’s leaders to reach a political settlement with East Pakistan’s elected representatives. Indira Gandhi’s November 1971 visit to Washington failed to alter President Richard M. Nixon’s pro-Pakistan stance.
 
Relations between India and the US worsened throughout the 1970s. After Nixon abruptly terminated $82 million in economic assistance, India closed down a large US Agency for International Development (USAID) program. The Indian government also restricted the flow of American scholars and students to India, and was critical of American policies in Vietnam and Cambodia. When the United States expanded its naval base on the island of Diego Garcia and engaged in naval exercises with Pakistan in the Indian Ocean in 1974, India saw its security further threatened.
 
Hopes for improved relations were expressed in 1977 when Jimmy Carter became president. These expectations came to an abrupt end two years later when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The promulgation of the Carter Doctrine, which stated that the US would use military force to defend “national interests” in the Persian gulf region, led to the establishment of the Rapid Deployment Force and an Indian Ocean fleet, planned expansion of the naval base at Diego Garcia, and arrangements to supply Pakistan with $3.2 billion in military and economic aid over five years. These actions increased Indian fears of US maneuvering in the region.
 
The personal rapport between Indira Gandhi and President Ronald Reagan enabled the two countries to begin improving bilateral relations in the 1980s. The Reagan administration reassessed its policy toward India and decided to expand areas of cooperation, particularly in the economic and scientific realms, as a means of counteracting Soviet influence in the region. The warming trend in relations between New Delhi and Washington continued with the 1985 and 1987 visits by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Washington. Also, Washington supported New Delhi’s moves in Sri Lanka in 1987 and in the Maldives in 1988. In 1988 the two countries finalized an accord to provide US technology for India’s light combat aircraft program and also agreed to transfer technology for the F-5 fighter.
 
Despite these developments, the US and Indian governments continued to have divergent views on a wide range of international issues, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Middle East, and Central America. Serious differences also remained over US policy toward Pakistan and the issue of nuclear proliferation. India was repeatedly incensed in the 1980s when the United States provided advanced military technology and other assistance to Pakistan. New Delhi also found objectionable Washington’s unwillingness to cut off military assistance to Islamabad despite American concerns about Pakistan’s covert nuclear program.
 
In the early 1990s, economic reforms permitted a qualitative breakthrough in relations between India and the United States. Washington was instrumental in speeding a $1.8 billion International Monetary Fund credit that New Delhi obtained in January 1991 to deal with a severe external-debt-payments crisis. In 1990 India and the United States signed a double taxation pact designed to facilitate American investment in India, breaking a 30-year deadlock in economic relations.
 
High-level visits to India in early 1995 portended greater stability in India-United States relations. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry visited New Delhi to sign a “landmark agreement” on military cooperation. Following the Perry visit was a commercial mission led by Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown, which led to the signing of $7 billion in contracts and investments in the communications, health care, insurance, finance, and automotive sectors. Some of the deals consummated were intended to build the infrastructure needed by foreign firms to do business in India. In March 1995, First Lady Hilary Clinton toured India as part of an extensive South Asian goodwill tour. In April, Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin visited New Delhi to sign a bilateral investment protection treaty.
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Current U.S. Relations with India
Recognizing India as a key to strategic US interests, the United States has sought to strengthen its relationship with India. On September 23, 2001, President Bush lifted sanctions imposed under the terms of the 1994 Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act following India’s nuclear tests in May 1998. In a meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee in November 2001, the two leaders expressed a strong interest in transforming the US-India bilateral relationship. High-level meetings between the two countries increased during 2002 and 2003.
 
In July 2005, President Bush hosted Prime Minister Singh in Washington, DC. The two leaders announced the successful completion of several key agreements in the areas of civil nuclear, civil space, and high-technology commerce. Other initiatives announced at this meeting included: a US-India Economic Dialogue, Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Disaster Relief, Technology Cooperation, Democracy Initiative, an Agriculture Knowledge Initiative, a Trade Policy Forum, Energy Dialogue and CEO Forum. President Bush made a reciprocal visit to India in March 2006.
 
President Bush announced in March 2005 that he would allow American companies to provide India with several types of modern combat weapons, including F-16 and F-18 fighter jets. The announcement was seen as an attempt to balance Bush’s offer to sell Pakistan about two dozen F-16s.
 
In March 2006, the two countries agreed to a controversial civil nuclear power deal that permitted the sale of nuclear technology to India despite the fact that India has never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Congress approved the deal in October 2008.
 
India is in the midst of a rapid economic expansion, and many US companies view India as a
lucrative market and a candidate for foreign investment. The current Indian government aims to transform a quasi-socialist economy into a more open, market-oriented one. However, the US government is concerned that India’s economic reforms are progressing too slowly and unevenly.
 
Despite the liberalization of India’s trade and foreign investment policies, there remain a number of bilateral and multilateral trade issues between the United States and India. The United States seeks greater market access to India’s agricultural market and key service sectors for its exports and for foreign direct investment. The United States is also concerned about “outsourcing,” and would also like to see improvements in India’s intellectual property rights protection. India calls for the lowering of US barriers to agricultural and service imports, as well as an expansion of the H-1B visa program.
 
A total of 1,678,765 people identified themselves as being of Asian Indian ancestry in the 2000 US census. Indians began immigrating to the US in the mid 19th Century, working on farms or construction. The first immigrants were Sikhs from the Punjab region, 2,000 of whom helped build the Western Pacific Railroad in 1907 alongside other Asian immigrants. Despite racist immigration policies and organizations like the Asiatic Expulsion League (established in 1907), many Indians purchased land and established themselves in the United States. After the passage of the more liberal Immigration Act of 1965, the rate of Indians immigrating to the US increased at a faster rate than any other nation, with 100,000 arriving between 1965 and 1974. These immigrants tended to be well-educated professionals and congregated in large cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, partially because of the availability of jobs, and partially because of their familiarity with living in an urban, ethnically diverse environment.
 
In 2005 611,165 Americans visited India. The number of tourists has increased consistently and dramatically since 2002, when 348,182 Americans traveled to India.
 
In 2006 406,845 Indians visited the US. More and more Indians have come to the US every year since 2002, when 257,271 Indians journeyed to the United States.
 
The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal (by Esther Pan and Jayshree Bajoria, Council on Foreign Relations)
U.S.-India Relations Needed: A New Kind of Partnership (by Teresita C. Schaffer, Center for Strategic and International Studies) (PDF)
Fact Sheets (State Department)
U.S.-India Relations: The Global Partnership (Carnegie Endowment for Peace)
United States-India Relations on Glide Path Towards Estrangement? (by Subhash Kapila, South Asia Analysis Group)
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Where Does the Money Flow
Bilateral merchandise trade has grown from $5.7 billion in 1992 to $41.7 billion in 2007. Although India was only the 21st largest export market for the United States in 2006, the US has become India’s leading trading partner, mostly due to the growth in India’s exports to the United States. The United States is also India’s largest investment partner, with a 13% share. India’s total inflow of US direct investment was estimated at more than $9 billion through 2006.
 
Some of the top American businesses and banks who are profiting from their investments in India are Coca Cola, Citibank, Bank of America, General Electric, Reebok, Motorola, McDonalds and KFC.
 
The must lucrative US imports from India in 2007 were gem diamonds (uncut and unset) at $3.7 billion, followed closely by apparel and household goods (cotton) at $3.7 billion, jewelry at $2.3 billion and medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations at $1.4 billion. A number of other imports on the rise between 2003-2007 include drilling and oil field equipment and platforms, up from $22.9 million to $548 million; generators, transformers and accessories, rising from $88 million to $432 million; fuel oil, up from $145 million to $748 million; engines and engine parts, going from $54.2 million to $212 million; agricultural machinery and equipment, rising from $99.5 million to $265 million; other industrial machinery, up from $148 million to $505 million.
 
The top two exports from the US to India in 2007 were civilian aircraft at $5.8 billion (up from $201 million in 2003) and gem diamonds at $1 billion (up from $275 million in 2003). Other top exports include telecommunications equipment ($602 million), petroleum products ($366 million), steelmaking materials ($348 million), and industrial machines ($345 million).
 
The US sold $116.5 million of defense articles and services to India in 2007.
 
The US gave almost the same amount, $116.6 million, in aid to India in 2007. The budget allotted the most funding to Child Survival and Health ($53.4 million), Global HIV/AIDS Initiative ($9 million), Infrastructure ($8.4 million), and Education ($3.1 million). The 2008 budget estimate decreased aid to $86.8 million, and the 2009 budget will further decrease aid to $77.8 million. The 2009 budget will distribute the most funds to Child Survival ($60.1 million), Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs ($1.7 million), and International Military Education and Training ($1.2 million).
 
India-U.S. Economic and Trade Relations (by Michael Martin and K. Alan Kronstadt, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
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Controversies
US Signs Nuclear Pact with India
On October 8, 2008, President George W. Bush signed legislation lifting a three-decade ban on nuclear trade with India. The deal will allow India to expand its nuclear power industry without requiring it to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as other nations must. Critics contended that the agreement encourages nuclear production worldwide because it rewards India for developing nuclear weapons outside the treaty. Critics also said that allowing India to circumvent the international treaty would make it more difficult to negotiate with Iran and North Korea on their nuclear ambitions. Officials in Washington and India insisted the deal would only bolster India’s civilian nuclear program.
 
But not everyone in India is happy with the agreement. India’s Bharatiya Janata Party called it a “nonproliferation trap.” The deal could be scrapped if India uses the fuel for its weapons program.
The U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: A controversial move (by Mark Maiello, American Nuclear Society) (PDF)
 
India Rejects US Pressure over Iranian Nuclear Program
In April 2008, the Bush administration urged India to pressure Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his visit to New Delhi to cooperate with Western efforts to end Iran’s nuclear program. Officials in India resisted the heavy-handed move by Washington, saying India did not need “any guidance on the future conduct of bilateral relations,” with Iran.
 
“India and Iran are ancient civilizations whose relations span centuries,” the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Both nations are perfectly capable of managing all aspects of their relationship with the appropriate degree of care and attention.”
 
India and Iran are in talks over a pipeline that would ferry natural gas through Pakistan to the Indian border. The United States opposes the pipeline.
India: U.S. Advice on Iran Is Rejected (by Somini Sengupta, New York Times)
 
US Drug Companies ‘Outsourcing’ Drug Experiments
American pharmaceutical companies are increasingly turning to India to carry out clinical trials of new medications in order to save money. Clinical trials that cost millions in the United States cost only thousands to perform in India. The outsourcing of medical experiments has raised questions about the ethics of using subjects who have little exposure to Western medicine, and whether test subjects are fully aware of the risks and benefits of participating in drug trials. Also, India stands to gain nothing from allowing its citizens to be human guinea pigs if the US-made drugs are too expensive for Indians to purchase.
Controversy over Outsourcing Drug Clinical Trials to India (All Things Considered, National Public Radio)
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Human Rights
According to the 2007 State Department report, major problems existed in India including extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, disappearances, and torture and rape by police and other security forces. A lack of accountability permeated the government and security forces throughout the country, creating an atmosphere of impunity. The Chhattisgarh state government supported the formation of the “Salwa Judum” village militia to fight the Maoist insurgency. In West Bengal, violence in the Nandigram district led to accusations of state government failure to control ruling Communist party cadres, which were accused by human rights groups of killing more than 30 rural villagers and intimidating them through violence and rape.
 
Although the country has numerous laws protecting human rights, enforcement was inadequate and convictions rare. Poor prison conditions, lengthy pretrial detention without charge, and prolonged detention while undergoing trial remained significant problems. Government officials used special antiterrorism legislation to justify the excessive use of force while combating terrorism and several regional insurgencies. While security officials who committed human rights abuses generally enjoyed impunity, there were investigations into individual abuse cases as well as legal punishment of some perpetrators.
 
Furthermore, endemic corruption existed at all levels within the government and police, and attempts to combat the problem were unsuccessful. The government continued to apply restrictions to the travel and activities of visiting experts and scholars. Significant restrictions on the funding and activities of NGOs also continued. Attacks against religious minorities and the promulgation of antireligious conversion laws were concerns. Social acceptance of caste-based discrimination often validated human rights violations against persons belonging to lower castes. Domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honor crimes, female infanticide, and feticide were serious problems. Trafficking in persons and exploitation of indentured, bonded, and child labor were ongoing problems.
 
Human Rights Watch (HRW) requested Indian authorities to investigate the mass arrests and ill-treatment of activists working on sexual orientation and gender-identity issues in Bangalore and punish those responsible. On October 20, 2008, police arrested five hijras (working-class, male-to-female, transgender people), detained representatives of a nongovernmental organization trying to negotiate their release, and subsequently attacked a group of peaceful demonstrators protesting the arrests. A total of 42 people were detained. The negotiators later informed Human Rights Watch that police officials told them higher-level authorities had ordered a campaign to arrest hijras on serious charges.
 
Human Rights Watch also has condemned the ongoing violence in Manipur. The organization said human rights violations by security forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Manipur state have occurred with “depressing regularity over the last five decades.” Separatist militants have also committed widespread human rights abuses. According to the police, nearly 3,000 civilians have died in the conflict since 1990. At least 1,300 militants and nearly 1,000 members of the security forces have also been killed. According to unofficial sources, at least 20,000 people may have died due to violence since the conflict began in the 1950s. Manipur, a small state of two million people, is tucked away in the country’s remote northeastern region. “Not much that happens there makes the national news—unless it is a particularly brutal attack by militants,” reported HRW.
 
Amnesty International called on the government of the northeastern state of Assam to repeal orders to shoot at sight in response to the inter-communal clashes in Darrang and Udalguri districts. Darrang and Udalguri districts have witnessed violent clashes between members of the Bodo and Muslim communities since October 3, 2008, claiming 53 lives, including 25 people killed as a result of alleged police firing.
Eyewitnesses based in the state capital of Guwahati, who travelled in the violence-hit areas, told Amnesty International that both these communities, including women and children, were targeted by youths carrying machetes and knives. Hundreds of homes were burnt down. In several instances, state police forces appeared to have used excessive force to deal with members belonging to both communities who were armed with sickles, pick-axes and machetes. Reports said a total of 80,000 people belonging to both communities have been displaced so far by the continuing violence and are now housed in 50 relief camps in the Bodo districts.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
A number of US ambassadors to India have had important political careers. The ranks of former ambassadors include Daniel Moynihan (US Senator), Chester Bowles (longtime Democratic official whose career included serving as a top adviser to President John F. Kennedy), John Kenneth Galbraith (noted economist, author and adviser to several Democratic presidents), Kenneth Keating (US Senator) and William Saxbe (Republican Senator from Ohio and Attorney General under presidents Nixon and Ford).
 
Henry F. Grady
Appointment: Apr 10, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 1, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 22, 1948
Note: Accredited also to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
Loy W. Henderson
Appointment: Jul 14, 1948
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 19, 1948
Termination of Mission: Reaccredited when India became a republic; presented new credentials Feb 24, 1950; left post Sep 21, 1951
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 2, 1949. Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
Chester Bowles
Appointment: Oct 10, 1951
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 1, 1951
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 23, 1953
Note: Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
George V. Allen
Appointment: Mar 11, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: May 4, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 30, 1954
Note: Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
John Sherman Cooper
Appointment: Feb 4, 1955
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 9, 1955
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 23, 1956
Note: Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
Ellsworth Bunker
Appointment: Nov 28, 1956
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 4, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left India, Mar 23, 1961
Note: Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 25, 1957.
 
J. Kenneth Galbraith
Appointment: Mar 29, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 18, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 12, 1963
 
Chester Bowles
Appointment: May 3, 1963
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 19, 1963
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 21, 1969
 
Kenneth B. Keating
Appointment: May 1, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 2, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 26, 1972
 
Daniel P. Moynihan
Appointment: Feb 8, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 28, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 7, 1975
 

Appointment: Feb 3, 1975
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 8, 1975
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 20, 1976
 
Robert F. Goheen
State of Residency: New Jersey
Non-career appointee
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Apr 26, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: May 26, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 10, 1980
 
Harry G. Barnes, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 1, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 17, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 27, 1985
 
John Gunther Dean
Appointment: Aug 2, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 6, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 7, 1988
 
John Randolph Hubbard
State of Residency: California
Non-career appointee
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Nov 22, 1988
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 27, 1988
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 15, 1989
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate.
 
William Clark, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 10, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 22, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 2, 1992
 
Thomas R. Pickering
Appointment: Apr 6, 1992
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 14, 1992
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 23, 1993
Note: Kenneth Brill served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim, Mar 1993–Aug 1994.
 
Frank G. Wisner
Appointment: Jun 9, 1994
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 2, 1994
Termination of Mission: Left post, July 12, 1997
 
Richard Frank Celeste
Appointment: Nov 10, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 25, 2001
 
Robert D. Blackwill
Appointment: Jul 12, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 14, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 31, 2003
 
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India's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Rao, Nirupama

Since August 1, 2011, the ambassador to the United States from India, the world’s second most populous nation (population: 1.14 billion) has been Nirupama Rao. A seasoned diplomat, she is the third woman to serve in the position and the second in a row.

 
Born in Malappuram, in the southwestern state of Kerala, on December 6, 1950, Rao was the Indian equivalent of an “Army brat,” growing up at a series of bases around the country. She earned her BA in English from Mount Carmel College, in Bangalore, India, in 1970, and her MA in English Literature from Marathwada University in Maharashtra, India, in 1973.
 
Shortly after acing the Indian civil service exam, Rao joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973. Early career assignments included service as Desk Officer on the Southern Africa and Nepal Desks at the Ministry of External Affairs, as well as postings at the Indian embassies in Vienna, Austria, and Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she was First Secretary from 1981 to 1983.
 
From 1984 to 1992, Rao served in New Delhi at the Ministry’s East Asia Division, focusing on India-China relations, including a stint as Joint Secretary of the Division. Rao was a Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University for the 1992-1993 academic year, and then served as Minister for Press Affairs at the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC, from October 1993 to October 1995. She served as Ambassador to Peru with concurrent accreditation to Bolivia from October 1995 to May 1998. From June 1998 to August 1999, she was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, Russia. From September 1999 to August 2000, she was Distinguished International Executive in Residence at the University of Maryland at College Park.
 
Returning to India in December 2000, Rao had three New Delhi-based positions in a row: she served as Head of the Ministry’s Division on Multilateral Economic Relations until June 2001; as the Ministry’s first female spokesperson, from July 2001 through October 2002; and as head of the Administration and Personnel Division from October 2002 to 2004. The spokesperson job was especially challenging, coinciding with a difficult period in India’s relationship with Pakistan that included the failed Agra Summit of 2001 and the military stand-off of 2001-2002.
 
Leaving India again in 2004, Rao was High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka from 2004 to 2006, and Ambassador to China, with which India shares a 2,100 mile long border, from 2006 to 2009. In China, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable, Rao played a major role in cementing greater trust between the two countries. Rao served as India’s Foreign Secretary (head of the Indian Foreign Service) for two years, from August 1, 2009 to July 31, 2011.
 
She is married to Sudhakar Rao, a former member of the Indian Administrative Service who retired as Chief Secretary in the Government of Karnataka, a large state in southwest India with a population of 61 million. They have two sons, Nikhilesh and Kartikeya. A poet, Rao’s poems have been translated into Russian and Chinese; in 2004, she published a book of poetry, Rain Rising. Rao speaks Kannada, Hindi and English.
 
Poet Diplomat (by Amit Baruah , Hindustan Times)

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India's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to India

Powell, Nancy
ambassador-image

Nancy Jo Powell, President Obama’s choice to be the next U.S. ambassador to India, has been a career member of the Foreign Service for 34 years and holds its highest rank, Career Ambassador. She has already served as ambassador to two other South Asian countries, Pakistan and Nepal, and also spent three years in India. President Obama announced his intent to nominate Powell on December 16, 2011. She was confirmed by the Senate on March 29, 2012.

 
A native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Powell was born in 1947, and earned a B.A. in History and Teaching at the University of Northern Iowa in 1970. From 1970 to 1977, she taught Social Studies at Dayton High School in Dayton, Iowa. She joined the Foreign Service in 1977 in Washington, D.C., as a Refugee Assistance Officer, and began her focus on South Asia with her first overseas assignment as consular officer at the embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 1980 to 1982. She continued as Nepal Desk Officer at the State Department from 1982 to 1984.
 
From 1985 to 1989, Powell served in Islamabad, Pakistan; and Ottawa, Canada. Posted to Africa for the first time in 1990, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy in Lome, Togo, until 1992. She spent the next five years in South Asia, serving first as consul general at the consulate in Calcutta, India, from 1992 to 1993; as political counselor at the embassy in New Delhi, India, from 1993 to 1995; and finally as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 1995 to 1997.
 
Powell’s career took an African turn when she was named ambassador to Uganda, where she served from 1997 to 1999. She then brought her expertise to bear as deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs from 1999 to 2001, and served as ambassador to Ghana from 2001 to 2002, which was her final African assignment. She returned to South Asia to serve as ambassador to Pakistan from 2002 to 2004.
 
Powell then took four straight stateside assignments, including principal deputy assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs from 2004 to 2005 and acting assistant secretary for the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau in 2005. From 2006 to 2007, she served as the State Department’s Senior Coordinator for Avian Influenza and as National Intelligence Council Officer for South Asia. She returned to Nepal to serve as ambassador from August 2007 to August 2009. Back in Washington, Powell served as director general of the Foreign Service and director of Human Resources, from August 3, 2009 to December 2011.
 
Powell has studied French, Nepali, Hindi, and Urdu.
 
Nancy J. Powell, Recent Interview (by Mikel Dunham, Nepal Watch)
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to India

Roemer, Tim
ambassador-image

Sworn in the U.S. ambassador to India on July 23, 2009, Tim Roemer is an example of an ambassadorial appointment grounded not in six- or seven-figure bundles of cash, like some of those chosen by President Barack Obama, but in priceless political support that came at a crucial time. As a former congressman from the red state of Indiana, Roemer came out early in favor of Obama while he was battling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Although Obama lost the Indiana primary to his rival, the outcome was so close that some observers saw it as more of a victory for the eventual nominee than for the one-time frontrunner. Obama did, however, carry the Hoosier State in the general election against Republican John McCain, and Obama wasn’t about to forget all the campaigning Roemer did in his home state for the president.

 
Born on October 30, 1956, in South Bend, Indiana, Roemer graduated from Penn High School, in Mishawaka, IN. He served on the staff of Congressman John Brademas (D-Indiana) from 1978–1979 while attending the University of California, San Diego, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1979. He earned his M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. in American government (1986) from the University of Notre Dame. His doctoral dissertation was The Senior Executive Service: Retirement and Public Personnel Policy.
 
From 1985-1989, he worked for Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona), during which time he also taught at American University in Washington, D.C, for one year (1988). In 1989, he married Sally Johnston, daughter of former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-Louisiana).
 
Roemer returned to his home state in 1990 to run for the House of Representatives, winning the 3rd congressional seat. He served the next 12 years in Congress, and built a reputation as a moderate, pro-life Democrat who voted in favor of banning partial birth abortions and not allowing minors to travel across state lines to get abortions.
 
During his tenure in Congress, he held seats on the intelligence, education and workforce, and science committees. Roemer was happy to support certain free trade plans, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative. But when it came to proposals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which had the potential to cause his state to lose jobs, Roemer voted “no.”
 
Education was a major focus of Roemer’s while in Congress. He helped author the Ed-Flex bill, which encouraged states to seek new approaches to education, the “Transition to Teaching” bill, which encouraged professionals to enter the classroom, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which reduced interest rates on student loans, increased Pell Grants, and increased funding for teacher training, and the “School-to-Work” legislation to help non-college-bound high school students gain employment following graduation.
 
Roemer supported the creation of the AmeriCorps national service program, the expansion of Head Start to provide childcare coverage for women moving from welfare to work, and the “No Child Left Behind Act.”
 
He was also a vocal supporter of creating a Cabinet-level federal office to improve the nation’s security in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Although he was an original sponsor of the legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Roemer opposed revisions proposed by the Bush administration and ultimately voted against the creation of DHS. Roemer participated in the congressional joint inquiry into the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and sponsored legislation establishing the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, more commonly known as the 9/11 Commission. He then became a member of the commission after deciding not to run for reelection in 2002.
 
Roemer ran for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee in 2005, and although he gained the support of Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, he lost to Howard Dean. Some Democrats said he was too conservative for the post, due to his pro-life stance on abortion and his oft-mentioned vote against the Clinton economic plan in 1993.
 
He then became a partner at Johnston & Associates, the lobbying firm started by his father-in-law, before moving on to became president of the Center for National Policy, which bills itself as a non-partisan organization dedicated to improving global security.
 
Roemer is a distinguished scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a think tank criticized by some environmentalists for its anti-regulation stances. His other affiliations include serving on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism; The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Presidential Task Force on Combating the Ideology of Radical Extremism; the National Parks Second Century Commission; the Adams Memorial Foundation, which is authorized to create a memorial in honor of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and their families; and the State Department-funded Meridian International Center. He has also served on the boards of the Oshkosh Truck Corporation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
 
Roemer and his wife Sally have four children.
 
The Honorable Timothy J. Roemer (Center for National Policy Biography)
Timothy Roemer Biography (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress)
Tim Roemer on Torture (Washington Monthly)
 

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Overview
With more than a billion people, India is the second most populous country in the world, making it a force to be reckoned with for other nations in the region, in particular, China and India’s longtime enemy, Pakistan. India is also the world’s largest democracy. Relations between India and the United States have fluctuated since the country gained its independence in 1947. During much of the Cold War, the two powers had chilly relations, due to American commitments to Pakistan and India’s close relationship with the Soviet Union. Beginning in the 1980s, however, officials in Washington and New Delhi began to work together to forge stronger economic ties, creating a difficult balancing game for the US, as it has continued its military-oriented relationship with Pakistan. The administration of George W. Bush sought to further strengthen ties with India by lifting a ban on nuclear technology sales. This move has garnered much controversy in the US, India and throughout the world, as critics fear the move will also aid India’s nuclear weapons capability. Others cite India’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as another example why the agreement is a bad idea, as it will make it even tougher for the US to get other non-compliant countries, such as North Korea and Iran, to give up their nuclear ambitions.  For all the importance of the nuclear isse, for most Americans, their closest connection with India is that it is often Indians who answer the phone when Americans call service centers about repairs, questions and past due bills.
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Basic Information
Lay of the Land: India is the large, central portion of the Indian subcontinent, traversed on the northeast by the Himalayas. Modern India consists of four major geographic regions: the northern mountains, including section of the Himalayas; the Ganges and Brahmaputra river valleys, sometimes known historically as Hindustan; the Deccan tableland in central India; and the coastal plains of the Indian Peninsula, sometimes known historically as Tamil Land. Climate varies from tropical monsoon in southern India to temperate in the north. The eastern Assam Hills receive 300 inches of rain annually, while sections of the western Rajasthan Desert get less than 5 inches.
 
Population: 1,148 billion
 
Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Sunni Muslim 12.1%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.8%, Shi'a Muslim 1.3%, other (Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Baha'i) 1.1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%.
 
Languages: National Official Languages: Hindi (official) 30%, English (official). Other Official Languages: Bengali 6.9%, Telugu 6.3%, Marathi 6.2%, Tamil 5.6%, Urdu 4.4%, Gujrati 4.1%, Kannada 3.2%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 2.9%, Punjabi 2.5%, Maithili 2.0%, Assamese 1.4%, Nepali 0.5%, Santhali 0.5%, Kashmiri 0.4%, Konkani 0.4%, Sindhi 0.3%, Dogri 0.2%, Manipuri 0.04%, Bodo 0.005%, and Sanskrit 0.00005%. There are 415 living languages in India.
 

 

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History
The Indus Valley civilization flourished on the Indian subcontinent from 2600 BC to 2000 BC.  The Aryans entered India around 1500 BC and introduced the Sanskrit language and the Vedic religion, a forerunner of Hinduism. Buddhism was founded in the 6th century BC and was spread throughout northern India. India was unified for the first time during the Mauryan dynasty from 269–232 BC.
 
In 1526, Muslim invaders founded the great Mogul Empire, centered in Delhi, which lasted until 1857. Akbar the Great (1542–1605) strengthened and consolidated this empire.
 
Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed in India in 1498, and for the next 100 years Portugal had a virtual monopoly on trade with the subcontinent. Meanwhile, the English founded the East India Company, which set up its first factory at Surat in 1612 and began expanding its influence, fighting Indian rulers along with French, Dutch, and Portuguese traders simultaneously.
 
Bombay became the seat of English rule in 1687. The defeat of French and Mogul armies by Lord Clive in 1757 laid the foundation of the British Empire in India. The East India Company continued to suppress native uprisings and extend British rule until 1858, when the administration of India was formally transferred to the British Crown following the Sepoy Mutiny of native troops in 1857–1858.
 
Indian states sent more than 6 million troops to fight beside the Allies during World War I. After the conclusion of the war, Indian nationalism reached new heights under the leadership of a Hindu lawyer, Mohandas K. Gandhi, called Mahatma Gandhi. His philosophy of civil disobedience called for nonviolent non-cooperation against British authority. He soon became the leading spirit of the Indian National Congress Party, which was the spearhead of revolt. In 1919, the British gave added responsibility to Indian officials, and in 1935, India was given a federal form of government and a measure of self-rule.
 
In 1942, with the Japanese pressing hard on the eastern borders of India, the British tried and failed to reach a political settlement with nationalist leaders. The Congress Party took the position that the British must quit India. Fearing mass civil disobedience, the government of India carried out widespread arrests of Congress Party leaders, including Gandhi.
 
Gandhi was released in 1944, and three years later, India gained full independence. The victory was soured, however, by the assassination of Gandhi on January 30, 1948, and the sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims over the division of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan that sparked the first of several wars between the two countries. The partition of Pakistan and India led to the largest migration in human history, with 17 million people fleeing across the borders in both directions. Armed conflict also broke out over rival claims to the princely states of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
Jawaharlal Nehru, nationalist leader and head of the Congress Party, was made prime minister of India. In 1949, a constitution was approved, making India a sovereign republic. Under a federal structure the states were organized on linguistic lines. In 1956, the republic absorbed former French settlements. Five years later, the republic forcibly annexed the Portuguese enclaves of Goa, Damao, and Diu.
 
Nehru died in 1964 and was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri. The following year, the second war with Pakistan began in April 1965, when fighting broke out in a sparsely inhabited region along the West Pakistan–India border. Fighting spread to Kashmir and to the Punjab, and in September Pakistani and Indian troops crossed the partition line between the two countries and launched air assaults on each other’s cities. The two countries eventually agreed to a UN-sponsored cease-fire and withdrew their forces.
 
Shastri died on January 10, 1966. Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, became prime minister, and she continued his policy of nonalignment.
 
In 1971, the third Indo-Pakistani War broke out when the Pakistani army moved in to quash the independence movement in East Pakistan that was supported by India. Approximately 10 million Bengali refugees poured across the border into India, creating social, economic, and health problems. After numerous border incidents, India invaded East Pakistan and in two weeks forced the surrender of the Pakistani army. East Pakistan was established as an independent state and renamed Bangladesh.
 
On May 18, 1974, India detonated a nuclear device underground at Pokharan in the Rajasthan Desert, confirming suspicions in the West that India was developing nuclear weapons. The blast prompted Pakistan to accelerate its own nuclear weapons effort.
 
On June 12, 1975, a judge in Allahabad, Indira Gandhi's home constituency, found Gandhi's landslide victory in the 1971 elections invalid because civil servants had illegally aided her campaign. Amid demands for her resignation, Gandhi decreed a state of emergency on June 26 and ordered mass arrests of her critics, including all opposition party leaders except the Communists.
 
Despite strong opposition to her repressive measures, particularly resentment against compulsory birth control programs, in 1977 Gandhi announced parliamentary elections for March. At the same time, she freed most political prisoners. The landslide victory of Morarji R. Desai unseated Gandhi, but she staged a spectacular comeback in the elections of January 1980.
 
In 1984, Gandhi ordered the Indian army to root out a band of Sikh holy men and gunmen who were using the most sacred shrine of the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, as a base for terrorist raids in a violent campaign for greater political autonomy in the strategic Punjab border state. The perceived sacrilege to the Golden Temple kindled outrage among many of India’s 14 million Sikhs and brought a spasm of mutinies and desertions by Sikh officers and soldiers in the army.
 
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two men identified by police as Sikh members of her bodyguard. The ruling Congress Party chose her older son, Rajiv Gandhi, to succeed her as prime minister. While running for re-election, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 22, 1991, by Tamil militants who objected to India's mediation of the civil war in Sri Lanka.
 
The ruling Congress Party lost the parliamentary elections of May 1996, and its waning resulted in a period of political instability. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) then became the dominant force in politics, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister.
 
In May 1998, India set off five nuclear tests. Despite international urging for restraint, Pakistan responded by conducting several nuclear tests of its own two weeks later. India has resisted signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for nuclear weapons and has been slapped with sanctions by the US and other countries. Less than a year later, in April 1999, both India and Pakistan tested nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
 
India and Pakistan have held various talks about the disputed territory of Kashmir. India controls two-thirds of this Himalayan region, which is the only Indian state that is predominantly Muslim. The Indian Air Force launched air strikes on May 26, 1999, and later sent in ground troops against Islamic guerrilla forces in Kashmir. India blamed Pakistan for orchestrating violence in Kashmir by sending soldiers and mercenaries across the so-called Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Pakistan countered that the guerrillas were independent Kashmiri freedom fighters struggling for India's ouster from the region. In August 1999, Pakistan was forced to withdraw, but fighting continued sporadically.
 
In October 2001, violence again broke out in the region when a suicide bombing by a Pakistan-based militant organization killed 38 in India-controlled Kashmir. India retaliated with heavy shelling across the Line of Control. India, angered by Washington’s sudden coziness with Pakistan following the Sepember. 11 attacks, took the opportunity to point out that, while Pakistan might be helping the US fight terrorism on the Afghan front, it was simultaneously supporting terrorism on its own border with India. On December 13, 2001, suicide bombers attacked the Indian parliament, killing 14 people. Indian officials blamed the deadly attack on Islamic militants supported by Pakistan.
 
Violent clashes between Muslims and Hindus rocked the state of Gujarat in late February and early March 2002 after a Muslim mob fire-bombed a train, killing 58 Hindu activists. Hindus retaliated, and more than 500 people died in the bloodshed.
 
Hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Kashmir was raised in November 2002, when a newly elected coalition government in India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir vowed to reach out to separatists and to improve conditions in the state. But hopes were dashed in March 2003, following the slaughter of 24 Hindus in Kashmir. Officials blamed the massacre on Islamic militants. Days later, both India and Pakistan test-fired short-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
 
Two bombs exploded in Mumbai (Bombay) on August 25, 2003, killing more than 50 people and injuring about 150. Indian officials blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant Islamic group.
 
In November 2003, India and Pakistan declared their first formal cease-fire in 14 years. The cease-fire applied to the entire Line of Control dividing Kashmir. Relations between the two countries have continued to thaw, although no real progress has been made.
 
In one of the most dramatic political upsets in modern Indian history, the Indian National Congress Party, led by Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, prevailed in parliamentary elections in May 2004, prompting Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to resign. Gandhi, though, refused to become prime minister after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) protested her elevation to the post because of her foreign birth. The Congress Party instead chose former finance minister Manmohan Singh, who became India’s first Sikh prime minister.
 
The December 2004 tsunami that ravaged 12 Asian countries killed nearly 11,000 people in India. The following year, monsoon rains in late July and early August caused devastating landslides and floods that killed about 900 people in and around Mumbai. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck Pakistani-controlled Kashmir on October 8, 2005. More than 81,000 people were killed and 2.5 million left homeless. India suffered about 1,300 casualties.
 
Pratibha Patil, of the governing Congress party, was elected president in July 2007, becoming the country’s first woman to hold the post. She defeated Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, of the opposition BJP.
 
Prime Minister Singh survived a confidence vote on July 23, 2008, taking 275 votes to the opposition's 256.
 
Fighting along Kashmir’s Line of Control broke out over the summer of 2008 after more than four years of relative calm. The problems arose after authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir transferred 99 acres of land to a trust that runs a Hindu shrine, called Amarnath. Muslims launched a series of protests. The government rescinded the order, which outraged Hindus. About 40 people were killed in the protests and counterdemonstrations, which involved several hundred thousand people.
 
India launched its first unmanned spacecraft on October 22 2008, for a two-year mission to map a three-dimensional atlas of the moon and search for natural resources. The spacecraft successfully landed a probe on the moon on November 14, 2008.
 
A Country Study: India (Library of Congress)
History of India (Wikipedia)
Internet Indian History Sourcebook (edited by Paul Halsall, Fordham University)

 

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India's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with India
India’s nonalignment led the United States in 1954 to ally itself with Pakistan in order to secure a pro-Western ally in a region dominated by Communist China and the Soviet Union. The US-Pakistan alliance was renewed in 1959, with accompanying assurances from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the arms supplied to Pakistan would not be used in any aggressive war. When Pakistan and India went to war in 1965, the United States government refused to support India and suspended military transfers to both countries.
 
In 1971 the Nixon administration initiated a new relationship with China, while the Indian government of Indira Gandhi signed a friendship treaty with the Soviet Union to counteract United States and Chinese influence in South Asia. As the situation in East Pakistan deteriorated, India was unable to convince the United States to cease arms deliveries to Pakistan and persuade Pakistan’s leaders to reach a political settlement with East Pakistan’s elected representatives. Indira Gandhi’s November 1971 visit to Washington failed to alter President Richard M. Nixon’s pro-Pakistan stance.
 
Relations between India and the US worsened throughout the 1970s. After Nixon abruptly terminated $82 million in economic assistance, India closed down a large US Agency for International Development (USAID) program. The Indian government also restricted the flow of American scholars and students to India, and was critical of American policies in Vietnam and Cambodia. When the United States expanded its naval base on the island of Diego Garcia and engaged in naval exercises with Pakistan in the Indian Ocean in 1974, India saw its security further threatened.
 
Hopes for improved relations were expressed in 1977 when Jimmy Carter became president. These expectations came to an abrupt end two years later when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The promulgation of the Carter Doctrine, which stated that the US would use military force to defend “national interests” in the Persian gulf region, led to the establishment of the Rapid Deployment Force and an Indian Ocean fleet, planned expansion of the naval base at Diego Garcia, and arrangements to supply Pakistan with $3.2 billion in military and economic aid over five years. These actions increased Indian fears of US maneuvering in the region.
 
The personal rapport between Indira Gandhi and President Ronald Reagan enabled the two countries to begin improving bilateral relations in the 1980s. The Reagan administration reassessed its policy toward India and decided to expand areas of cooperation, particularly in the economic and scientific realms, as a means of counteracting Soviet influence in the region. The warming trend in relations between New Delhi and Washington continued with the 1985 and 1987 visits by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Washington. Also, Washington supported New Delhi’s moves in Sri Lanka in 1987 and in the Maldives in 1988. In 1988 the two countries finalized an accord to provide US technology for India’s light combat aircraft program and also agreed to transfer technology for the F-5 fighter.
 
Despite these developments, the US and Indian governments continued to have divergent views on a wide range of international issues, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Middle East, and Central America. Serious differences also remained over US policy toward Pakistan and the issue of nuclear proliferation. India was repeatedly incensed in the 1980s when the United States provided advanced military technology and other assistance to Pakistan. New Delhi also found objectionable Washington’s unwillingness to cut off military assistance to Islamabad despite American concerns about Pakistan’s covert nuclear program.
 
In the early 1990s, economic reforms permitted a qualitative breakthrough in relations between India and the United States. Washington was instrumental in speeding a $1.8 billion International Monetary Fund credit that New Delhi obtained in January 1991 to deal with a severe external-debt-payments crisis. In 1990 India and the United States signed a double taxation pact designed to facilitate American investment in India, breaking a 30-year deadlock in economic relations.
 
High-level visits to India in early 1995 portended greater stability in India-United States relations. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry visited New Delhi to sign a “landmark agreement” on military cooperation. Following the Perry visit was a commercial mission led by Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown, which led to the signing of $7 billion in contracts and investments in the communications, health care, insurance, finance, and automotive sectors. Some of the deals consummated were intended to build the infrastructure needed by foreign firms to do business in India. In March 1995, First Lady Hilary Clinton toured India as part of an extensive South Asian goodwill tour. In April, Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin visited New Delhi to sign a bilateral investment protection treaty.
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Current U.S. Relations with India
Recognizing India as a key to strategic US interests, the United States has sought to strengthen its relationship with India. On September 23, 2001, President Bush lifted sanctions imposed under the terms of the 1994 Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act following India’s nuclear tests in May 1998. In a meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee in November 2001, the two leaders expressed a strong interest in transforming the US-India bilateral relationship. High-level meetings between the two countries increased during 2002 and 2003.
 
In July 2005, President Bush hosted Prime Minister Singh in Washington, DC. The two leaders announced the successful completion of several key agreements in the areas of civil nuclear, civil space, and high-technology commerce. Other initiatives announced at this meeting included: a US-India Economic Dialogue, Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Disaster Relief, Technology Cooperation, Democracy Initiative, an Agriculture Knowledge Initiative, a Trade Policy Forum, Energy Dialogue and CEO Forum. President Bush made a reciprocal visit to India in March 2006.
 
President Bush announced in March 2005 that he would allow American companies to provide India with several types of modern combat weapons, including F-16 and F-18 fighter jets. The announcement was seen as an attempt to balance Bush’s offer to sell Pakistan about two dozen F-16s.
 
In March 2006, the two countries agreed to a controversial civil nuclear power deal that permitted the sale of nuclear technology to India despite the fact that India has never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Congress approved the deal in October 2008.
 
India is in the midst of a rapid economic expansion, and many US companies view India as a
lucrative market and a candidate for foreign investment. The current Indian government aims to transform a quasi-socialist economy into a more open, market-oriented one. However, the US government is concerned that India’s economic reforms are progressing too slowly and unevenly.
 
Despite the liberalization of India’s trade and foreign investment policies, there remain a number of bilateral and multilateral trade issues between the United States and India. The United States seeks greater market access to India’s agricultural market and key service sectors for its exports and for foreign direct investment. The United States is also concerned about “outsourcing,” and would also like to see improvements in India’s intellectual property rights protection. India calls for the lowering of US barriers to agricultural and service imports, as well as an expansion of the H-1B visa program.
 
A total of 1,678,765 people identified themselves as being of Asian Indian ancestry in the 2000 US census. Indians began immigrating to the US in the mid 19th Century, working on farms or construction. The first immigrants were Sikhs from the Punjab region, 2,000 of whom helped build the Western Pacific Railroad in 1907 alongside other Asian immigrants. Despite racist immigration policies and organizations like the Asiatic Expulsion League (established in 1907), many Indians purchased land and established themselves in the United States. After the passage of the more liberal Immigration Act of 1965, the rate of Indians immigrating to the US increased at a faster rate than any other nation, with 100,000 arriving between 1965 and 1974. These immigrants tended to be well-educated professionals and congregated in large cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, partially because of the availability of jobs, and partially because of their familiarity with living in an urban, ethnically diverse environment.
 
In 2005 611,165 Americans visited India. The number of tourists has increased consistently and dramatically since 2002, when 348,182 Americans traveled to India.
 
In 2006 406,845 Indians visited the US. More and more Indians have come to the US every year since 2002, when 257,271 Indians journeyed to the United States.
 
The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal (by Esther Pan and Jayshree Bajoria, Council on Foreign Relations)
U.S.-India Relations Needed: A New Kind of Partnership (by Teresita C. Schaffer, Center for Strategic and International Studies) (PDF)
Fact Sheets (State Department)
U.S.-India Relations: The Global Partnership (Carnegie Endowment for Peace)
United States-India Relations on Glide Path Towards Estrangement? (by Subhash Kapila, South Asia Analysis Group)
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Where Does the Money Flow
Bilateral merchandise trade has grown from $5.7 billion in 1992 to $41.7 billion in 2007. Although India was only the 21st largest export market for the United States in 2006, the US has become India’s leading trading partner, mostly due to the growth in India’s exports to the United States. The United States is also India’s largest investment partner, with a 13% share. India’s total inflow of US direct investment was estimated at more than $9 billion through 2006.
 
Some of the top American businesses and banks who are profiting from their investments in India are Coca Cola, Citibank, Bank of America, General Electric, Reebok, Motorola, McDonalds and KFC.
 
The must lucrative US imports from India in 2007 were gem diamonds (uncut and unset) at $3.7 billion, followed closely by apparel and household goods (cotton) at $3.7 billion, jewelry at $2.3 billion and medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations at $1.4 billion. A number of other imports on the rise between 2003-2007 include drilling and oil field equipment and platforms, up from $22.9 million to $548 million; generators, transformers and accessories, rising from $88 million to $432 million; fuel oil, up from $145 million to $748 million; engines and engine parts, going from $54.2 million to $212 million; agricultural machinery and equipment, rising from $99.5 million to $265 million; other industrial machinery, up from $148 million to $505 million.
 
The top two exports from the US to India in 2007 were civilian aircraft at $5.8 billion (up from $201 million in 2003) and gem diamonds at $1 billion (up from $275 million in 2003). Other top exports include telecommunications equipment ($602 million), petroleum products ($366 million), steelmaking materials ($348 million), and industrial machines ($345 million).
 
The US sold $116.5 million of defense articles and services to India in 2007.
 
The US gave almost the same amount, $116.6 million, in aid to India in 2007. The budget allotted the most funding to Child Survival and Health ($53.4 million), Global HIV/AIDS Initiative ($9 million), Infrastructure ($8.4 million), and Education ($3.1 million). The 2008 budget estimate decreased aid to $86.8 million, and the 2009 budget will further decrease aid to $77.8 million. The 2009 budget will distribute the most funds to Child Survival ($60.1 million), Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs ($1.7 million), and International Military Education and Training ($1.2 million).
 
India-U.S. Economic and Trade Relations (by Michael Martin and K. Alan Kronstadt, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
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Controversies
US Signs Nuclear Pact with India
On October 8, 2008, President George W. Bush signed legislation lifting a three-decade ban on nuclear trade with India. The deal will allow India to expand its nuclear power industry without requiring it to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as other nations must. Critics contended that the agreement encourages nuclear production worldwide because it rewards India for developing nuclear weapons outside the treaty. Critics also said that allowing India to circumvent the international treaty would make it more difficult to negotiate with Iran and North Korea on their nuclear ambitions. Officials in Washington and India insisted the deal would only bolster India’s civilian nuclear program.
 
But not everyone in India is happy with the agreement. India’s Bharatiya Janata Party called it a “nonproliferation trap.” The deal could be scrapped if India uses the fuel for its weapons program.
The U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: A controversial move (by Mark Maiello, American Nuclear Society) (PDF)
 
India Rejects US Pressure over Iranian Nuclear Program
In April 2008, the Bush administration urged India to pressure Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his visit to New Delhi to cooperate with Western efforts to end Iran’s nuclear program. Officials in India resisted the heavy-handed move by Washington, saying India did not need “any guidance on the future conduct of bilateral relations,” with Iran.
 
“India and Iran are ancient civilizations whose relations span centuries,” the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Both nations are perfectly capable of managing all aspects of their relationship with the appropriate degree of care and attention.”
 
India and Iran are in talks over a pipeline that would ferry natural gas through Pakistan to the Indian border. The United States opposes the pipeline.
India: U.S. Advice on Iran Is Rejected (by Somini Sengupta, New York Times)
 
US Drug Companies ‘Outsourcing’ Drug Experiments
American pharmaceutical companies are increasingly turning to India to carry out clinical trials of new medications in order to save money. Clinical trials that cost millions in the United States cost only thousands to perform in India. The outsourcing of medical experiments has raised questions about the ethics of using subjects who have little exposure to Western medicine, and whether test subjects are fully aware of the risks and benefits of participating in drug trials. Also, India stands to gain nothing from allowing its citizens to be human guinea pigs if the US-made drugs are too expensive for Indians to purchase.
Controversy over Outsourcing Drug Clinical Trials to India (All Things Considered, National Public Radio)
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Human Rights
According to the 2007 State Department report, major problems existed in India including extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, disappearances, and torture and rape by police and other security forces. A lack of accountability permeated the government and security forces throughout the country, creating an atmosphere of impunity. The Chhattisgarh state government supported the formation of the “Salwa Judum” village militia to fight the Maoist insurgency. In West Bengal, violence in the Nandigram district led to accusations of state government failure to control ruling Communist party cadres, which were accused by human rights groups of killing more than 30 rural villagers and intimidating them through violence and rape.
 
Although the country has numerous laws protecting human rights, enforcement was inadequate and convictions rare. Poor prison conditions, lengthy pretrial detention without charge, and prolonged detention while undergoing trial remained significant problems. Government officials used special antiterrorism legislation to justify the excessive use of force while combating terrorism and several regional insurgencies. While security officials who committed human rights abuses generally enjoyed impunity, there were investigations into individual abuse cases as well as legal punishment of some perpetrators.
 
Furthermore, endemic corruption existed at all levels within the government and police, and attempts to combat the problem were unsuccessful. The government continued to apply restrictions to the travel and activities of visiting experts and scholars. Significant restrictions on the funding and activities of NGOs also continued. Attacks against religious minorities and the promulgation of antireligious conversion laws were concerns. Social acceptance of caste-based discrimination often validated human rights violations against persons belonging to lower castes. Domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honor crimes, female infanticide, and feticide were serious problems. Trafficking in persons and exploitation of indentured, bonded, and child labor were ongoing problems.
 
Human Rights Watch (HRW) requested Indian authorities to investigate the mass arrests and ill-treatment of activists working on sexual orientation and gender-identity issues in Bangalore and punish those responsible. On October 20, 2008, police arrested five hijras (working-class, male-to-female, transgender people), detained representatives of a nongovernmental organization trying to negotiate their release, and subsequently attacked a group of peaceful demonstrators protesting the arrests. A total of 42 people were detained. The negotiators later informed Human Rights Watch that police officials told them higher-level authorities had ordered a campaign to arrest hijras on serious charges.
 
Human Rights Watch also has condemned the ongoing violence in Manipur. The organization said human rights violations by security forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Manipur state have occurred with “depressing regularity over the last five decades.” Separatist militants have also committed widespread human rights abuses. According to the police, nearly 3,000 civilians have died in the conflict since 1990. At least 1,300 militants and nearly 1,000 members of the security forces have also been killed. According to unofficial sources, at least 20,000 people may have died due to violence since the conflict began in the 1950s. Manipur, a small state of two million people, is tucked away in the country’s remote northeastern region. “Not much that happens there makes the national news—unless it is a particularly brutal attack by militants,” reported HRW.
 
Amnesty International called on the government of the northeastern state of Assam to repeal orders to shoot at sight in response to the inter-communal clashes in Darrang and Udalguri districts. Darrang and Udalguri districts have witnessed violent clashes between members of the Bodo and Muslim communities since October 3, 2008, claiming 53 lives, including 25 people killed as a result of alleged police firing.
Eyewitnesses based in the state capital of Guwahati, who travelled in the violence-hit areas, told Amnesty International that both these communities, including women and children, were targeted by youths carrying machetes and knives. Hundreds of homes were burnt down. In several instances, state police forces appeared to have used excessive force to deal with members belonging to both communities who were armed with sickles, pick-axes and machetes. Reports said a total of 80,000 people belonging to both communities have been displaced so far by the continuing violence and are now housed in 50 relief camps in the Bodo districts.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
A number of US ambassadors to India have had important political careers. The ranks of former ambassadors include Daniel Moynihan (US Senator), Chester Bowles (longtime Democratic official whose career included serving as a top adviser to President John F. Kennedy), John Kenneth Galbraith (noted economist, author and adviser to several Democratic presidents), Kenneth Keating (US Senator) and William Saxbe (Republican Senator from Ohio and Attorney General under presidents Nixon and Ford).
 
Henry F. Grady
Appointment: Apr 10, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 1, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 22, 1948
Note: Accredited also to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
Loy W. Henderson
Appointment: Jul 14, 1948
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 19, 1948
Termination of Mission: Reaccredited when India became a republic; presented new credentials Feb 24, 1950; left post Sep 21, 1951
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 2, 1949. Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
Chester Bowles
Appointment: Oct 10, 1951
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 1, 1951
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 23, 1953
Note: Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
George V. Allen
Appointment: Mar 11, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: May 4, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 30, 1954
Note: Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
John Sherman Cooper
Appointment: Feb 4, 1955
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 9, 1955
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 23, 1956
Note: Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
 
Ellsworth Bunker
Appointment: Nov 28, 1956
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 4, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left India, Mar 23, 1961
Note: Also accredited to Nepal; resident at New Delhi.
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 25, 1957.
 
J. Kenneth Galbraith
Appointment: Mar 29, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 18, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 12, 1963
 
Chester Bowles
Appointment: May 3, 1963
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 19, 1963
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 21, 1969
 
Kenneth B. Keating
Appointment: May 1, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 2, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 26, 1972
 
Daniel P. Moynihan
Appointment: Feb 8, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 28, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 7, 1975
 

Appointment: Feb 3, 1975
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 8, 1975
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 20, 1976
 
Robert F. Goheen
State of Residency: New Jersey
Non-career appointee
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Apr 26, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: May 26, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 10, 1980
 
Harry G. Barnes, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 1, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 17, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 27, 1985
 
John Gunther Dean
Appointment: Aug 2, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 6, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 7, 1988
 
John Randolph Hubbard
State of Residency: California
Non-career appointee
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Nov 22, 1988
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 27, 1988
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 15, 1989
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate.
 
William Clark, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 10, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 22, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 2, 1992
 
Thomas R. Pickering
Appointment: Apr 6, 1992
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 14, 1992
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 23, 1993
Note: Kenneth Brill served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim, Mar 1993–Aug 1994.
 
Frank G. Wisner
Appointment: Jun 9, 1994
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 2, 1994
Termination of Mission: Left post, July 12, 1997
 
Richard Frank Celeste
Appointment: Nov 10, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 25, 2001
 
Robert D. Blackwill
Appointment: Jul 12, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 14, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 31, 2003
 
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India's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Rao, Nirupama

Since August 1, 2011, the ambassador to the United States from India, the world’s second most populous nation (population: 1.14 billion) has been Nirupama Rao. A seasoned diplomat, she is the third woman to serve in the position and the second in a row.

 
Born in Malappuram, in the southwestern state of Kerala, on December 6, 1950, Rao was the Indian equivalent of an “Army brat,” growing up at a series of bases around the country. She earned her BA in English from Mount Carmel College, in Bangalore, India, in 1970, and her MA in English Literature from Marathwada University in Maharashtra, India, in 1973.
 
Shortly after acing the Indian civil service exam, Rao joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973. Early career assignments included service as Desk Officer on the Southern Africa and Nepal Desks at the Ministry of External Affairs, as well as postings at the Indian embassies in Vienna, Austria, and Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she was First Secretary from 1981 to 1983.
 
From 1984 to 1992, Rao served in New Delhi at the Ministry’s East Asia Division, focusing on India-China relations, including a stint as Joint Secretary of the Division. Rao was a Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University for the 1992-1993 academic year, and then served as Minister for Press Affairs at the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC, from October 1993 to October 1995. She served as Ambassador to Peru with concurrent accreditation to Bolivia from October 1995 to May 1998. From June 1998 to August 1999, she was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, Russia. From September 1999 to August 2000, she was Distinguished International Executive in Residence at the University of Maryland at College Park.
 
Returning to India in December 2000, Rao had three New Delhi-based positions in a row: she served as Head of the Ministry’s Division on Multilateral Economic Relations until June 2001; as the Ministry’s first female spokesperson, from July 2001 through October 2002; and as head of the Administration and Personnel Division from October 2002 to 2004. The spokesperson job was especially challenging, coinciding with a difficult period in India’s relationship with Pakistan that included the failed Agra Summit of 2001 and the military stand-off of 2001-2002.
 
Leaving India again in 2004, Rao was High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka from 2004 to 2006, and Ambassador to China, with which India shares a 2,100 mile long border, from 2006 to 2009. In China, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable, Rao played a major role in cementing greater trust between the two countries. Rao served as India’s Foreign Secretary (head of the Indian Foreign Service) for two years, from August 1, 2009 to July 31, 2011.
 
She is married to Sudhakar Rao, a former member of the Indian Administrative Service who retired as Chief Secretary in the Government of Karnataka, a large state in southwest India with a population of 61 million. They have two sons, Nikhilesh and Kartikeya. A poet, Rao’s poems have been translated into Russian and Chinese; in 2004, she published a book of poetry, Rain Rising. Rao speaks Kannada, Hindi and English.
 
Poet Diplomat (by Amit Baruah , Hindustan Times)

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India's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to India

Powell, Nancy
ambassador-image

Nancy Jo Powell, President Obama’s choice to be the next U.S. ambassador to India, has been a career member of the Foreign Service for 34 years and holds its highest rank, Career Ambassador. She has already served as ambassador to two other South Asian countries, Pakistan and Nepal, and also spent three years in India. President Obama announced his intent to nominate Powell on December 16, 2011. She was confirmed by the Senate on March 29, 2012.

 
A native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Powell was born in 1947, and earned a B.A. in History and Teaching at the University of Northern Iowa in 1970. From 1970 to 1977, she taught Social Studies at Dayton High School in Dayton, Iowa. She joined the Foreign Service in 1977 in Washington, D.C., as a Refugee Assistance Officer, and began her focus on South Asia with her first overseas assignment as consular officer at the embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 1980 to 1982. She continued as Nepal Desk Officer at the State Department from 1982 to 1984.
 
From 1985 to 1989, Powell served in Islamabad, Pakistan; and Ottawa, Canada. Posted to Africa for the first time in 1990, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy in Lome, Togo, until 1992. She spent the next five years in South Asia, serving first as consul general at the consulate in Calcutta, India, from 1992 to 1993; as political counselor at the embassy in New Delhi, India, from 1993 to 1995; and finally as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 1995 to 1997.
 
Powell’s career took an African turn when she was named ambassador to Uganda, where she served from 1997 to 1999. She then brought her expertise to bear as deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs from 1999 to 2001, and served as ambassador to Ghana from 2001 to 2002, which was her final African assignment. She returned to South Asia to serve as ambassador to Pakistan from 2002 to 2004.
 
Powell then took four straight stateside assignments, including principal deputy assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs from 2004 to 2005 and acting assistant secretary for the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau in 2005. From 2006 to 2007, she served as the State Department’s Senior Coordinator for Avian Influenza and as National Intelligence Council Officer for South Asia. She returned to Nepal to serve as ambassador from August 2007 to August 2009. Back in Washington, Powell served as director general of the Foreign Service and director of Human Resources, from August 3, 2009 to December 2011.
 
Powell has studied French, Nepali, Hindi, and Urdu.
 
Nancy J. Powell, Recent Interview (by Mikel Dunham, Nepal Watch)
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to India

Roemer, Tim
ambassador-image

Sworn in the U.S. ambassador to India on July 23, 2009, Tim Roemer is an example of an ambassadorial appointment grounded not in six- or seven-figure bundles of cash, like some of those chosen by President Barack Obama, but in priceless political support that came at a crucial time. As a former congressman from the red state of Indiana, Roemer came out early in favor of Obama while he was battling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Although Obama lost the Indiana primary to his rival, the outcome was so close that some observers saw it as more of a victory for the eventual nominee than for the one-time frontrunner. Obama did, however, carry the Hoosier State in the general election against Republican John McCain, and Obama wasn’t about to forget all the campaigning Roemer did in his home state for the president.

 
Born on October 30, 1956, in South Bend, Indiana, Roemer graduated from Penn High School, in Mishawaka, IN. He served on the staff of Congressman John Brademas (D-Indiana) from 1978–1979 while attending the University of California, San Diego, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1979. He earned his M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. in American government (1986) from the University of Notre Dame. His doctoral dissertation was The Senior Executive Service: Retirement and Public Personnel Policy.
 
From 1985-1989, he worked for Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona), during which time he also taught at American University in Washington, D.C, for one year (1988). In 1989, he married Sally Johnston, daughter of former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-Louisiana).
 
Roemer returned to his home state in 1990 to run for the House of Representatives, winning the 3rd congressional seat. He served the next 12 years in Congress, and built a reputation as a moderate, pro-life Democrat who voted in favor of banning partial birth abortions and not allowing minors to travel across state lines to get abortions.
 
During his tenure in Congress, he held seats on the intelligence, education and workforce, and science committees. Roemer was happy to support certain free trade plans, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative. But when it came to proposals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which had the potential to cause his state to lose jobs, Roemer voted “no.”
 
Education was a major focus of Roemer’s while in Congress. He helped author the Ed-Flex bill, which encouraged states to seek new approaches to education, the “Transition to Teaching” bill, which encouraged professionals to enter the classroom, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which reduced interest rates on student loans, increased Pell Grants, and increased funding for teacher training, and the “School-to-Work” legislation to help non-college-bound high school students gain employment following graduation.
 
Roemer supported the creation of the AmeriCorps national service program, the expansion of Head Start to provide childcare coverage for women moving from welfare to work, and the “No Child Left Behind Act.”
 
He was also a vocal supporter of creating a Cabinet-level federal office to improve the nation’s security in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Although he was an original sponsor of the legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Roemer opposed revisions proposed by the Bush administration and ultimately voted against the creation of DHS. Roemer participated in the congressional joint inquiry into the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and sponsored legislation establishing the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, more commonly known as the 9/11 Commission. He then became a member of the commission after deciding not to run for reelection in 2002.
 
Roemer ran for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee in 2005, and although he gained the support of Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, he lost to Howard Dean. Some Democrats said he was too conservative for the post, due to his pro-life stance on abortion and his oft-mentioned vote against the Clinton economic plan in 1993.
 
He then became a partner at Johnston & Associates, the lobbying firm started by his father-in-law, before moving on to became president of the Center for National Policy, which bills itself as a non-partisan organization dedicated to improving global security.
 
Roemer is a distinguished scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a think tank criticized by some environmentalists for its anti-regulation stances. His other affiliations include serving on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism; The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Presidential Task Force on Combating the Ideology of Radical Extremism; the National Parks Second Century Commission; the Adams Memorial Foundation, which is authorized to create a memorial in honor of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and their families; and the State Department-funded Meridian International Center. He has also served on the boards of the Oshkosh Truck Corporation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
 
Roemer and his wife Sally have four children.
 
The Honorable Timothy J. Roemer (Center for National Policy Biography)
Timothy Roemer Biography (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress)
Tim Roemer on Torture (Washington Monthly)
 

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