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Obama’s Visit to India: What POTUS has in store for the Reign of LOTUS?


img1Source- Google images

India played a diplomatic masterstroke by inviting the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, as the Chief Guest for the 66th Republic Day Celebration. The President of the United States (trending on the social media as #POTUS) went on to say in an interview that he was proud to be the first US President to visit India twice. PM Narendra Modi broke the protocol and personally received the US President at the airport and greeted him with a warm hug. Warmth between the two heads was felt by the capital too.
150125-world-obama-india-modi-hug-825a_d7dcbef43969ed2295da698d819f4fb8Source- Google images

The city has been turned into a fortress with several of Central Delhi areas out of bound, metro stations shut, more than 45,000 security personnel and 15,000 security cameras guarding the road because of this “high profile” visit. Perhaps this city needed such a visit to bolster its vigilance and not the increasing crime rate!  Snipers on the roof, US secret services closely working with their Indian counterparts, “No-fly Zone” areas are just a few of the many security arrangements that are in effect .
Monkeys and dogs have been chased out of the Lutyens’ Delhi too. It’s a shame that Mr. President
won’t be able to witness Delhi’s wildlife!
The visit is being touted as a breakthrough in Indo-US relationship. 

Here’s a look at the highlights of this visit:

Strengthening of Strategic Ties:

Mr. Obama would have the privilege to see scores of Soviet and Russian military hardware ranging from Su-30MKI to T-90 tanks on roll in their full glory at the Republic Day’s parade while smiling and appreciating them. So the next time Mr. Obama sees weapons which are more familiar to him, he has brought many deals in his bag! :P
India and US are set to ink a 10 year defense framework agreement that would open up a new chapter in Indo-US strategic partnership.
Arjun-Main-Battle-Tank-MBT-Indian-Army-IASource- Google images

Talks on developing a next generation aircraft carrier, shifting the manufacturing plant of the most advanced hand launched UAV in the world, Raven, and then jointly producing it from Bengaluru and development of jet engine technology are some of the key deals that are to gain steam during his visit. Apart from this, India is in talks to buy the attack helicopter Apache and heavy lifter Chinooks.

Climate Change:

One thing that the US president is aiming for is a bilateral treaty on controlling the carbon emission of our country in prelude to the Paris Climate Change Conference. A signed treaty on this matter will be regarded as an achievement for Mr. Obama. Coming with an entourage of 5 helicopters, 29 cargo air crafts, up to 40 vehicles including his own limousine called ‘The Beast’, Mr. Obama definitely seems to take the issue of carbon emission seriously!
narendra-modi-barack-obama-jan-25-2015Source- Google images

 Setting Up of Smart Cities:
 Modi’s plan of setting up 100 Smart Cities will get the American push, as plans of involvement in smart cities project for Ajmer, Vishakhapatnam and Allahabad are already under way. US will help these three cities by becoming their knowledge partner in areas of traffic management, solid waste management, garbage disposal, recycling waste water and in water storage.
U.S. President Obama inspects guard of honour during his ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in New DelhiSource- Google images

It should be duly ‘noted’ that Mr. Narendra Modi’s “Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan” was taken seriously
in Agra in lieu of ‘The’ Presidential visit. Majorly all streets were cleaned (READ: hand scrubbed), security was beefed up, “no fly zones” were declared and Agra was made to look as a world heritage city (No less than a miracle), only to later know that the President won’t be visiting the city anymore! Imagine what would have happened if the President had wished to take a dip in the ‘holy’ river Yamuna(sigh).
Indian workers are being paid less than $5 a day for cleaning the streets around the Taj Mahal.

Strengthening of Economic ties:
With PM Modi launching the Make in India campaign and trying to bring in more Foreign investors with
assurance of ease in business and cutting down the red tape, we all know that only US can prove to be a bigger
partner in this respect. With a trade deficit of $ 22.1 billion, US longs India to open its markets, thus
its a Win-Win situation for both the countries. With India’s ambitious solar project on the horizon
and the continuing 100% FDI in the Pharma sector, there is a definitely a lot of scope for the US firms to
grow in the country.
&MaxW=640&imageVersion=default&AR-150129318Source- Google images

A moment of joy also awaits the Indian education sector:
PM Modi’s project on the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN, or Knowledge ) will also be taken up during Obama’s visit, under which India will invite and host up to 1,000 American academics each year to teach in centrally-recognised Indian universities.

The Civil Nuclear deal which was gridlocked since 2008 was finally finalised, with both the sides resolving key hurdles pertaining to the liability of suppliers of the nuclear reactors in the event of some mishap and the tracking of  the nuclear fuel supplied by the US.

Major Highlights:
Intelligence sharing, more involvement in health sector for developing more affordable vaccines for TB, Malaria and Dengue, agreement to increase bilateral ties to counter terrorist groups are some of the key highlights of the meeting.
The visit is more than just symbolic and should be viewed as such. At such a crucial time when India is surrounded by hostile nations, it certainly needs new strong friends, “we need them, they need us.”

As an Indian who is accustomed to see everything through the spectacle of cynicism, this visit definitely demands optimism to a great extent. Even though we have faced problems in the past, this visit will positively act as the beginning of a new chapter between our ties, the ties between the most powerful country and the largest democracy in the world.


By Bhanu Sharma


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