”Obama’s India visit: More than what meets the eyes!“

February 3, 2015

The President of United States of America Barrack Obama’s 3 day visit to India ironically comes exactly a year after the Indian premier Mr. Narendra Modi was denied a visa to enter the USA. In a span of merely a year much has changed with Mr. Modi winning a whooping majority in the last general elections and rightfully earning his position to host the president of the USA. This recent visit not only symbolizes building friendship between the two democracies but also talks about significant developments between the two economies.
One of the striking features of NaMo style of leadership has been to have a strong say in International diplomacy and stay relevant in accordance with the changing dynamics of International politics, which was proved by his masterstroke of inviting the premiers of all the SAARC nations to his swearing in ceremony as Prime Minister in the last May. Let’s very carefully look into India & her neighbours.
Indian ties with Sri Lanka: After the fall of LTTE, during Rajpaksha’s leadership, Sri Lanka had been somewhat inclined towards China with huge funds and loans coming in from them. Sri Lanka being very strategically positioned with its influence on the Indian Ocean, its inclination towards China could develop to be a great threat to India and its coast.
India and Pakistan: Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, reiterated his promise to promote peace with India on his meeting with Mr. Modi during the swearing in ceremony. However, Pakistani Army’s persistently intermittent violation of ceasefire at the border, not only has been an irritant to India but also questions Pakistan’s actual intent of promoting peace with India. Besides, the mushrooming terrorist organizations across the borders continue to pose a threat to India.
India and Afghanistan: The defeat of Taliban and the USAs recent withdrawal from the Afghan soil still makes the region vulnerable to the flourishing terrorist organizations in between the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan is yet to strengthen its economy, defense & mature as a democracy. The present instability of the region can be a threat to India’s security in spite of old friendship between the two nations. Therefore, India has a huge role to play in maintaining the stability of Afghanistan and the region at large.
India and China: India faces a greater threat in the Northern and North Eastern borders from China. With the growing influence of China in Nepal and Tibet, India has to counter the threat from China from the entire northern & Northeastern borders. Today, China is not only following a string of policies to corner India from all the sides but also has been a major irritant to the USA by interfering in all international issues. China’s huge built up of infrastructure along the border including diverting Indian rivers poses a huge threat to India’s security and life in that region.

Let’s now assess the current scenario from United States Diplomacy perspective.

Growing influence of China: With the growth of China’s strength, the USA’s influence is waning in the Easter region. With Pakistan, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Tibet already under China’s influence, the influence of USA is getting more & more limited in this part of the globe.
Relevance in the South East Asian region: After the long war in Afghanistan and the decision to withdraw the troops, USA can ensure peace and harmony in the region only if it can find a powerful and strong ally in this part of the world. The failure to maintain peace in Afghanistan might be a threat to USA someday in future.
Growing threat from ISIS: With the war on against the ISIS, and Obama’s determination to root out terrorism, the USA needs a trusted ally in its fight to shower in peace in this region.
Destroy the Terrorist Infrastructure: With firm affirmative and prolonged strikes against the terrorist infrastructure on the Afghanistan and Pakistan border, the war can only be sustainable if India can partner the USA.

Now, the next question is does India need USA? Yes, India does. India needs help as well as support of the USA to keep herself relevant and powerful in the South East Asia.

1. Promote Business: India’s major contribution to GDP comes from the services sector, IT being the largest contributor. And the IT sector is directly dependent on the USA as their earning is directly proportional to the number of USA outsourced projects to India. If the USA goes back to keeping its words of protectionism and stops outsourcing projects to India, India’s employment potentials would be badly impacted. In the recent times, there has been a major cap in the number of H1B visas which controls the number of people migrating from India on project requirements. With further stringent cap it’ll be difficult for the Indian IT companies to implement projects in the USA.

2. Need to strengthen technology and Armaments: India, since the cold war has been majorly dependent on Russia for its armament supplies. But with the breaking of Soviet Union into smaller countries leading to increased defense project load on Russia, it has become very difficult for India to maintain its power especially in times when there is growing threat from China and Pakistan. Therefore India needs a new partner who could provide a continuous supply of not just armaments but also technologies which can aid in the growth of indigenous manufacturing capability of India reducing import need.

3. Need for developing cleaner technologies: Increase in adverse effects due to climate change will soon necessitate for India the need to develop cleaner technologies. It’s important to break the deadlock of India and USA cuts in gases that were being released by the developing countries vis-à-vis developed in respect to polluting the environment. At this point of time, India needs a partner who can help her realise the dream of becoming sustainable on power alongside shifting towards greener technologies.

4. Need for guaranteed power supply to every Indian: Nuclear agreement between India and USA provided a possibility of increased trade between the two economies. Currently to the world’s surprise, India is the only country approved to have nuclear trade despite not being signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty. But, the true potential of this nuclear agreement is yet to be realized.

Hence, Obama’s visit to India under the current scenario is of great significance. Countries like China, Pakistan and also Russia would be caustiously watching every step of this visit.

During the 3days visit, the following deals have been struck which could become game changers in the ties between the two big democracies:
1. The nuclear agreement: The deadlock between India and USA regarding the liability in the case of a nuclear accident has been worked out and both the countries have decided to move ahead overcoming the bottleneck. This will clearly open a huge opportunity worth billion dollars between the two countries. For India, it will guarantee a bright future and sustained availability of power.
2. Expansion of co-operation in Asia-Pacific: With the growing threat from China and its string of pearls policy, this agreement between India and China will definitely counter the influence of China in the Asia Pacific region thereby ensuring great security for India.
3. Security Council in the UN: With the increase in the role of India in various international issues and its fight in alleviating poverty and maintaining peace and harmony in various UN missions, the time has come for restructuring the UN security council by making India a permanent member. It will ensure that India can play an active role for promotion of its efforts in combating terror groups and promote peace and harmony in the region.
4. H1B visa: The USA has softened its stance on the outsourcing of jobs to India, however to implement that in totality, the hurdle of H1B visa caps needs to be resolved. President Obama has promised to address this issue, and if resolved, it will be a clear victory to Indian IT sector & employment.
5. Cleaner Energy and Technology Transfer: President Obama has also promised to ensure transfer of cleaner technologies to India so that it could fight the climate change and protect the Earth without curtailing her economic development potentials.

Mr. Barack Obama has become the first American President to attend India’s Republic day celebrations as Chief Guest and this day will go down in the world history as the beginning of a new era in Indo-US ties. His recent 3days visit has not only achieved diplomatic & military success between the two countries but also gave a platform for successful selling of Brand India for future US investments. India now definitely gets an upper hand in the power equations across the Asia Pacific region besides walking towards realizing her true economic potential.
With so much being achieved in the 3days US president’s visit, let all of us especially in the IT service sector do our bit to further strengthen the Indo-US ties so painstakingly established by our prime minister Shri Narendra Modiji!

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