BIT and Beyond: Advancing the U.S.-India Economic Relationship

Series: CSIS Reports
In the U.S.-India relationship, economic engagement remains at the top of the agenda for both sides. Both governments recognize the key role that trade and investment play in this partnership, and the Indian government has made a promising return to its internal economic reform agenda. A Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is the most frequently discussed option to make a significant and positive change in the U.S.-India economic relationship and at the same time to regain a larger sense of forward movement. In recognition of this potential, the Joint Statement from the 2012 U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, calls for the expeditious conclusion of a BIT. The BIT is a promising next step, but it cannot be the ultimate goal. Both nations should also look beyond the BIT and begin laying out a more comprehensive vision of economic cooperation. This report, the result of a series of roundtable discussions and interviews in Washington and New Delhi, argues for the need to pursue a BIT aggressively, primarily from the U.S. perspective, and provides recommendations for ensuring success of this effort.