BAZHENOVA O.A. India – a Potential Major Non-NATO Ally


Olga A. Bazhenova

Candidate of Sciences (Politics), Researcher,

Faculty of World Politics, Lomonosov Moscow State University,

Leninskie gory, Bld. 1/51, 119991 Moscow, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstract. Introduction. Allied relations between India and United States were based during Barack Obama administration and were further developed with Donald Trump coming to power. The interplay that has intensified between states in recent years can contribute to the creation of a new geopolitical space – the Indo-Pacific region. Trade in arms and military equipment is the catalyst for cooperation and the major non-NATO ally status can create all favorable conditions for thus cooperation. United States and India rapprochement, caused, in particular, by geopolitical situation in the Asia-Pacific and the change of power in United States, has led to the emergence of discussions in the American political society about assigning India major non-NATO ally status. Seventeen states in various regions of the world already own this status.

The methodological basis of the study was made up of the basic research principles of modern humanities: general scientific methods of cognition, comparison, complex analysis and synthesis.

Analysis. The legal framework for cooperation between India and the United States in the military-technical area is formed by agreements on technology transfer, organization of joint development and production of weapons: Defense Cooperation Framework Agreement (2005), Arms and Military Technologies Trade Initiative (2012), Updated framework agreement (2015), Memorandum on material and technical exchange (2016), etc. On the basis of these agreements, a number of projects were successfully implemented. Despite the successes achieved in the development of military-technical cooperation, interaction is complicated by the difference in procedural approaches. As one of the ways to remove bureaucratic barriers, inconsistency in the transfer of technology, joint development and production of weapons systems was considered “major non-NATO ally status”. It could become an alternative to the allied security treaty and an addition to the previously concluded agreements. The proposal to grant India major non-NATO ally status was first received from congressmen led by Republican Joe Wilson. Authors recommended to expand bilateral defense and security cooperation to advance U.S. interests in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region. Despite their efforts, bill did not receive enough votes. In 2019, similar bills were introduced to grant India as MNNA, which have not been implemented yet.

Results. There are agreements that have already been implemented in bilateral cooperation. However, the challenge of building the Indo-Pacific region requires the use of all the tools that U.S. has in its arsenal. One of these tools is status. This study has shown that in the foreseeable future India is unlikely to join major non-NATO allies group because its policy has no place for American interests.

Key words: United States, major non-NATO ally, MNNA, India, D. Trump, arms export.

Citation. Bazhenova O.A. India – a Potential Major Non-NATO Ally. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 255- 264. (in Russian). DOI:

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India – a Potential Major Non-NATO Ally by Bazhenova O.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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