President Obama Befriends India

Text by K. Cecchini/Feature Photo: AP Photo/Saurabh Das

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Prime Minister Modi greets President Obama in New Delhi with the First Lady in the background. Image tweeted from @PMOIndia

 

If this welcoming hug between Prime Minister Modi and President Obama is indicative of diplomatic goals, then President Obama is ready to Think India.

These two move fast.

Up until last year, Modi would not have passed through customs in the United States because of the deadly anti-Muslim riots of 2002 during his governance over Gujarat state. He was never indicted for having any role in the event and so the US government is willing to forge stronger relations with the new PM. Modi has already visited Washington this past September and now Obama is wrapping up a 3-day visit in India.

Author Vinay Rai believe that it is in the self-interest of both nations that relations have been evolving for the better in recent years; it has been inevitable for India and America to develop a relationship because both societies value democracy and “…both are enterprising and flexible and adaptable to change…”

According to Julie McCarthy, India’s government expresses a similar sentiment; a foreign ministry spokesman said that his nation is working to ‘re-energize’ engagement between the democracies which has been developing more under the Obama administration. This 3-day date was highlighted with Obama being honored as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day festivities in the capital for the anniversary of its constitution’s implementation.

Besides the pomp and circumstance that symbolizes a burgeoning relationship (perhaps to the dismay of our greatest ally in the area and India’s greatest enemy, Pakistan), these are some of the topics shared between the two leaders:

1-Renewal of a 10-year defense agreement.

2-A climate agreement (albeit, largely weak according to the New York Times, it is a sign of India’s ownership of responsibility for climate issues)

3-Civil nuclear cooperation

During an appearance, President Obama remarked, “This new partnership will not happen overnight. It’s going to take time to build and some patience. But it’s clear from this visit that we have a new and perhaps unprecedented opportunity, and deepening our ties with India is going to remain a top foreign policy priority for my administration.”

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