The U.S. is courting tech talent in India to hedge its bets against Chinese expansionism and military aggression.
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently making his first visit to the U.S.
- He is scheduled to attend the International Day of Yoga at the United Nations headquarters in New York, followed by a meeting with President Joe Biden on Thursday. He is expected to speak before Congress on Friday.
- The visit politically speaks to the U.S.’s growingly negative relationship with China and its growing relationship with India.
- The visit may also jeopardize Biden’s image, compromising its stances against human rights abuses abroad.
- Indian American tech workers make up 6% of the Silicon Valley workforce.
Why It’s Important
The Biden administration’s embrace of Modi signifies the administration’s intention to withdraw support from China. As we previously reported, major companies like Apple have begun to slowly withdraw production of its products from mainland China due to political instability, international hostilities, and unstable supply chains brought about by the Zero-COVID Policy.
India is appealing to the U.S. as a military and trade partner, providing assistance to building new production plants and facilities that allow the U.S. to divest while benefitting the Indian economy slowly. India has already become a major supplier of artificial-intelligence and tech components. Companies like IBM, Walmart, Microsoft, Google, Adobe, and Apple have already made notable strides in moving jobs to India, Axios notes.
The U.S. and Indian economies are already deeply intertwined. As of 2015, 89,000 Indian Americans were living in Silicon Valley, representing 1% of the population but 6% of the tech industry, according to the BBC. At the same time, India hosts 1,500 multinational corporations, with 60 Fortune 500 CEOs coming from India.
However, the effort has placed the Biden administration in an awkward political corner. Modi was previously banned from seeking a visa to enter the U.S. due to accusations of human rights abuses against his leadership. Modi has been accused of cracking down on religious freedom and enforcing internet blackouts arbitrarily, negatively harming his workers and violating free speech protections. Modi also endorsed President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
The U.S. has strong motivations not to trust Modi, but faced with Chinese aggression it is better that India will make a more reliable trading partner in the long run.
“This visit symbolizes the unwavering commitment to deepening ties and signifies the immense potential for both countries to collaborate amidst global challenges. For many in India and the U.S., the visit is a testament to the promise and high expectations for the future of U.S.-India collaboration—one of shared prosperity,” says Asia Society Policy Institute Director Farwa Aamer.