Sunday, December 4th, 2022 13:24:50

Did Obama Turn Referee On Indian Secularity?

Updated: February 14, 2015 4:10 am

The Opposition has been badgering the Modi Government on the US President’s comment on religious tolerance. It was said to be a parting shot and a warning to Modi. It was like Manna from Heavens for the Congress leaders, who since having been reduced to a Rump in Parliament, and their party leaders now rootless as their feudal ‘owners’ were decisively rejected, have been behaving like the jobless and homeless in the West who scour waste bins to find some crumbs to eat

In a major diplomatic victory for the NDA government and a massive boost to Indo-American ties, US President Barack Obama accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invite to be the chief guest at India’s 66th Republic day Parade. With Obama’s plane taking off from Palam Airport for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it’s time to look beyond: the security, the hospitality, the chemistry, the chewing gum and the stripes. It’s time to look at what this much hyped trip meant in the real sense besides that India celebrated its Constitution adoption and Obama became the first US President to attend it, which indeed was historic.

The first take-away is the attempt at clearing the impasse over the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement—a historic deal signed by George W Bush and Manmohan Singh in 2008. Both the governments have shown their intentions, with the US backing off a demand to track nuclear material sold to India and the Indian government offering to insure the concerns of the US suppliers. However, the highlight of the trip was Obama’s town hall meeting where he struck a good chord with the young audience and spoke on different issues- from accepting religious diversity to freedom of expression and women’s rights.

The Congress leaders, once revered but presently as politically homeless and jobless as poor pavement dwellers in London, are now always on the lookout for any and everything that they can twist and misinterpret, if need be, to rave and rant against the NDA government and with great relish criticise Modi personally. Their constant effort is to try and show him as a communalist with a facade of dishonest slogan sabka saath, sabka vikas.

They have interpreted President Barack Obama’s speech to around 2000 audience comprising youth, scholars and professionals at Siri Fort to be a warning to Modi about ghar wapsi like programmes and also on letting loose cannons like Sakshi Maharaj going around threatening the minorities. Would the President, displaying an unprecedented bonhomie and closeness with Modi for two full days, on the third day just before flying out, ruin all the build-up of friendship and cooperation and thus spoil the huge attainments, pacts and agreement by a ‘parting shot’?

One has to read his whole address to really understand what Obama did actually mean about his religious tolerance comment. He told his audience in Siri Fort and TV viewers all over India that “every person has the right to practice his faith without any persecution and that India will succeed so long it is not ‘splintered’ on religious lines”. True, Indians, except the likes of Sakshi Maharaj, know this. Modi with his kind of political perception and knowledge of ground realities would know that he cannot be biased against a 160-million strong minority. He would first lose all the friendships, goodwill and stature he has built within eight months of his tenure. And this, Modi, the best PR in Indian politics, will never do.

President Obama buttressed his comment with an assertion that America can be India’s “best partner”. The Obama sentence, which Congress leaders have crammed for repeatedly conveying to others, is “Every person has the right to practice his faith without any persecution, fear or discrimination. India will succeed so long (as) it is not splintered on religious lines.”

Obama also cited Article 25 of the Indian Constitution dealing with Freedom of religion. “Your (Constitution) Article 25 says all people are equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and have right to freely profess and practise and propagate religion.” He along with the comment about tolerance said, “In both our countries, in all countries upholding with freedom of religion, it is the utmost responsibility of the government but also the responsibility of every person.” So, there is no arguing over the fact that Obama touched on the subject after discussion and much thought. But there is nothing to conclude that the comment was meant to be a warning to Modi. It was

Modi had last year warned lawmakers from his party against making provocative statements that are seen to divert the attention from his government’s agenda of economic reforms. President Obama in his speech referenced his own experience as a minority in America. “There were moments in my life where I’ve been treated differently because of the colour of my skin…There have been times where my faith has at times been questioned by people who don’t know me, or they’ve said that I adhere to a different religion, as if that were somehow a bad thing,” he said, noting persistent rumours that he is a Muslim, not a Christian.

“Every person has the right to practice his/her religion and beliefs and not practice it if he/she chooses so without any persecution,” he added. Obama also said that around the world we have seen intolerance, violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to be standing for upholding their faith. “We have to guard against any efforts to divide us on sectarian lines or any other thing,” he said.

14-02-2015Obama also recounted an incident that occurred three years ago in Wisconsin where a man went into a Sikh gurdwara and “in a terrible act of violence” killed six innocent people, which included both Americans and Indians. Now this was a case of intolerance in his country. How can one conclude that he aimed his comment on religious tolerance at Modi?

This sentence affirms that he was generally meaning to make all understand the fear of intolerance. “In that moment of shared grief, the two countries reaffirmed the basic truth that we must again today. Every person has a right to practice the faith that he/she chooses and to practice no faith at all and to do so free of persecution, fear or discrimination,” he said.

This sentence further makes the point that Obama was warning all democratic countries and their societies. Obama said, “Our diversity is our strength” and cautioned that both India and the US have to be on guard against divisive efforts along sectarian lines or any other lines.

“…If we do that well and if America shows itself as an example of its diversity and the capacity to live and work together in common effort and common purpose and if India, as massive as it is with so much diversity, so many differences, is able to continuously reaffirm its democracy it is an example for every other country.

“That’s what makes us world leaders. Not just the size of our economies or the number of weapons we have but our ability to show the way and how we work together,” he said.


The US President picked Indian heroes like actor Shah Rukh Khan and sports icons like Milkha Singh and Mary Kom and Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi to make a point that courage and humanitarian values unify nations.”By what Dr King (Martin Luther King Jr) called content of our character rather than the colour of our skin or the manner in which we worship our god. In both our countries, in India and America, our diversity is our strength,” he asserted.

How did then the conclusion come that before the Air Force One took off for Riyadh, Obama taught a lesson to his friend Modi? One can understand–but not justify–the TV channels in race 24X7 for TRPs picking up the juicy part and flashing it as Breaking News and thus they do not study the whole report and understand what the speaker really meant.

Congress leaders are expected to be a bit mature. They belong to a 129-year-old party, the values of which were really well-regarded. But when you have neither power nor do see any possibility of power in the near future, their behaviour, as if they were on fringes of losing their reasoning and sanity, is expected. The people on the street understand and appreciate what Modi has been and is doing–taking India along the path to become a great power. As veteran writer on International affairs C. Raja Mohan said that Modi has changed the art of diplomatic engagement. He is a man who can go against traditional policies and adapt to changed times.

The very first day of the Obama visit, angry commentators and analysts accused Modi of digressing from the policy of neutrality and of anti-China tilt. This was seen putting India to greater risk. Expectedly, Modi got the flak for abandoning Nehru’s non-aligned policy. Neutrality led to the 1962 Chinese aggression and never persuaded Pakistan not to take to arms. In fact, Naresh Chandra, former Indian Ambassador to the US, said, “Those who felt India’s traditional stance of being neutral, it is a remarkable change. We have finally shed our hypocritical stance on the U.S. and are not worried about what the guy standing next to us is saying.”

The Wall Street Journal, in its report, said, “ Critics will continue to debate the significance of progress–on civil-nuclear projects, defence cooperation, trade and other issues–that the two leaders announced during U.S. President Obama’s three-day visit here, before departing…

“Mr. Obama also promised $4 billion in investments, and the two leaders signalled they had made progress on fighting global warming and terrorism. Mr. Obama declared his support for India’s long-held desire to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. But more significant than the specifics of what happens on any of these issues is the potential for future partnerships signified by the quantum leap of trust evidenced by these two leaders openly declaring themselves as friends.”

The paper further added: “This new amity is getting a lot of impetus from the two nations’ converging strategic interests. China’s more assertive posturing on the global stage is helping drive India and the U.S. together. Washington and New Delhi are wary of China’s rising naval presence in the Indian Ocean. And India continues to have territorial disputes with China that erupted last year with pushing and shouting near a Himalayan village along the border.”


Rajiv Dogra, retired Indian diplomat and author of Where Borders Bleed said, “U.S. as Europe’s economic power has diminished and Asia’s has risen. The bridges for the two countries to forge close ties were cemented by the friendship between the people, cultivated during the vast Indian immigration and, ‘the virtual march of Indian youth to universities in America’.”

“As India’s confidence has grown, so has its readiness to become friends with America,” Dogra says. In its early days after emerging from British colonialism, India was still excruciatingly poor. “Our fear was becoming a Banana Republic to the U.S. Now we have the confidence of being a mature economy ready to move to the next level. “That’s a level of self-confidence that allows Mr. Modi to do what previous generations could not do,” Dogra further added.

Would all this help the critics and alarmists appreciate better Modi’s success in extracting various promises of help to India’s rapid industrialisation and modernisation? The Congress leaders would never recover from the psyche of despair to see any light. The Leftists, the intellectuals and some anchors too seeing their irrelevance approaching cannot be in a mood to see things in right perspective. But now not many bother about them. Their badge of secularist and modernised would be of no consequence.

Those who are upset that China is upset, which in fact is not, it can be categorised as anti-national. This is evident from the fact that Shushma Swaraj is all set to fly to Beijing and Modi will follow later–that too through Manasarovar. Surprisingly, critics have been, in their blinding fury and hate, unable to understand the Chanakya in Modi. He will always balance to ensure that India’s interests are not harmed.

Rahul Bhaiya, meanwhile, can remain a juvenile and come up with the ridiculous charge that Modi wore a suit worth Rs 10 lakh. This is not only petty mindedness but a reflection of the Congress’s PM material’s IQ. He should, instead of competing with Modi, try his luck with a Don Quixote or even a Sancho Panza. His family loyalists know the address of such gentlemen. As for the lovers of non-alignment, they must realise that Beijing can never be trusted. With Pakistan, it can pose a great danger to India. A US tilt will secure India against these potent enemies. Modi should be appreciated rather than abhorred and abused.

By Vijay Dutt

NamObama Magic


India has not seen anything like this, at least in past several decades. The new found ‘NamObama’ tango in many ways could well be the turning point how the world sees India and a new rising and aspirational India thinks about itself and accordingly shapes its conduct.

The fact that the most powerful person on the earth for the first time chose to be the chief guest of India’s Republic Day celebrations and by consequence, arguably for the first time ever in history of American Presidency exposed himself to be there open in the air for an extended period of over two hours, is a significant statement by itself. Obama couldn’t have accepted to be here on this occasion if he had not believed that a resilient India and its new leadership had arrived on the world scene and could be trusted as an emerging “natural partner”.

In that sense, Modi could be complimented for effecting that change in belief system, domestically and internationally. A more than explicit bonhomie between India and USA or between Modi and Obama has rattled China a bit but Indian authorities are conscious of that and those could well surely be addressed in due course. After all Modi had been engaging with China since the time he was Chief Minister of Gujarat and would surely know to deal with them.

Modi had love-hate-love relations with America and in that sense Obama’s three-day visit to India becomes very important for him to send a message across to his own people that he had the capacity to change perception about him even of the highest and mightiest. But that needed sustained planning, great deal of energy and consistent positivity in approach. Obama visit had something for almost everyone, of course for those who cared. The Republic Day celebrations had usual grandeur of nationalist fervour but presence of Barack and Michelle Obama added a festive colour in it from a day in advance.

The hand shakes, bear hugs, smiles, laughter, stroll around the lawns of Hyderbad House, Chai pe Charcha, constant chatting at the dais while watching Republic Day parade, back-to-back prolonged engagements which ensured that they were comforting company of each other to open new vistas of shared interests of the two biggest democracies of the world. Those who wished to see substantives of the visit beyond the richness of symbolism saw a breakthrough in vexed Indo-US civil nuclear deal and promise to make mega investment in developing infrastructures. The secularists who have been endlessly petitioning Obama administration against Modi’s saffron hues too found something in American President’s “Townhall” speech at Siri Fort Auditorium where he spoke of pluralism and diversity of Indian and American societies as also the need to appreciate individual freedom to practice a faith of his or her choice.

14-02-2015Though Modi said that he was new entrant to the diplomatic arena but his out-of-box thinking and vigour to approach things with personalised zeal has yielded dividends in last seven-eight months, be it with America, or with Japan, or with Australia or China and so on. “I am new to this field. But on the basis of my limited experience, I can say that the relationship between two countries depends less on commas and full-stops on paper. How much openness is there between leaders, how many opportunities do they have to get to know each other, how does the chemistry match, this is very important”, Modi said. He then surprised the Indian diplomatic corps by referring American President with his first name Barack: “When we interact away from cameras, we get to know each other intimately. I and Barack share that friendship. That openness helps us talk easily on phone, chat comfortably, and even talk in a lighter vein. This chemistry has brought Barack and me closer, Washington and Delhi closer, and the people of America and India closer.”

An astute politician in Modi chose Nari Shakti as the theme for 66th Republic Day. Few days earlier he had launched a Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign in Haryana whose track record on girl child and women issues is wretched. In Delhi, he took the message to a new high, to give a renewed confidence to women to aspire, to dream and to achieve. If Wing Commander Pooja Thakur had the rare privilege of leading tri-service guard of honour for Obama on Jan 25, then several of her colleagues in Navy, Air Force, Army and para-military forces had the privilege of leading their troops at Rajpath in Republic Day on Jan 26. Then there were several tableaus like the one by Indian Navy titled “Bhartiya Nau Sena aur Nari Shakti” to portray accomplishments of women.

What was at display on the Rajpath was in no way Modi’s creation but he smartly showcased them in such a way, bestowing them pride and honour to send a message that he cared for them.

He ensured that even after Obama was gone in afternoon of Jan 27, he and Obama continue to occupy mind space of people in the country and perhaps outside via radio a medium that connects most. They came alive at prime time 8 pm to be debated, discussed and be fodder for the thought for days ahead.

By Preeti Singh

Breakthrough On Civil Nuclear Cooperation


President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke through a five-year impasse to pave the way for American companies to build nuclear power plants in India as the two countries sought to transform a fraught geopolitical relationship into a fresh partnership for a new era of cooperation.

Obama used his executive powers to clear away old disputes that stalled progress toward an alignment between the world’s largest democracies, a goal that has eluded the past three U.S. presidents. Few obstacles to that have been more nettlesome in recent years than the deadlock over nuclear power.

“Today we achieved a breakthrough understanding on two issues that were holding up our ability to advance our civil nuclear cooperation, and we’re committed to moving towards full implementation,” Obama said at an appearance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House and added: “And this is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship.”

The details still remain vague, but would American companies, such as General Electric Co. and Westinghouse, agree to invest in India’s civilian nuclear development? The companies had pressed India to rewrite its liability law, which the understanding between Obama and Modi did not touch on it. The US companies will have judged whether it is enough to resolve their legal concerns.

But the fact that both governments were willing to dispense with a dispute that has frustrated them since 2010 underscored the mutual desire to reinvent the relationship. Obama and Modi also renewed a 10-year defence pact, agreed to joint military hardware production and resolved to reduce the threat of greenhouse gas emissions to the world’s climate. The climate agreement included mostly minor initiatives, none of the scale of the deal that Obama struck in November with China.

The U.S. officials were encouraged that after years of India’s disavowing responsibility to help curb emissions, Modi told Obama that climate change was “an article of faith” for him and expressed determination to fight it.

The nuclear understanding may finally bring to fruition an agreement that former President George W. Bush reached with India in 2006 to end a moratorium on sales of nuclear fuel and reactor components to India, stemming from its first nuclear test in 1974. The promise of a thriving new nuclear trade never materialized because of a 2010 Indian law that would hold American companies liable for accidents in a way that they said went beyond an international convention, a delicate issue in a country still scarred by the Bhopal chemical disaster 30 years ago.

Obama aides said Indian officials provided reassurances that their liability law conformed to the international convention and that it should provide what one U.S. official called “extra security” for foreign companies. Moreover, India indicated it would set up a government-backed insurance pool to cover some of the risk, but not all of it.

US officials said they also worked out an understanding of how to track American-provided nuclear materials, as required by law. Critics said it appeared Obama had given in on the tracking requirement. Officials denied that, but details of both agreements were scarce, and they still needed to be translated before being signed.


Westinghouse and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, a partnership with a Japanese industrial corporation, welcomed the agreement without declaring whether it offered enough protection. In a statement, GE said the test would be whether it “brings India into compliance with the International Convention of Supplementary Compensation,” a global liability accord. Westinghouse praised the progress toward resolving issues “that will enable Westinghouse and other U.S. companies to participate in India’s growing nuclear energy market.” Daniel Roderick, the chief executive of Westinghouse, was in New Delhi to attend a business leaders’ meeting with Obama, but it was not known whether he was consulted.

Some analysts said the understanding sounded vague and inconclusive. “It’s a deal on principles rather than specifics, which as far as I’m concerned is not a deal at all,” said Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a security analyst at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. “A lot of it’s just, you know, blowing the trumpet.” Sujatha Singh, India’s foreign secretary, insisted that was not true. “Let me underline: We have reached an understanding,” she said and added: “The deal is done.”

This breakthrough was possible because of the President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal bonhomie which developed after Modi’s meeting with Barack Obama at White House during the Indian Prime Minister in September.

A contact group, sources, said was set up during that visit to try broker an agreement on nuclear civil facility between the two countries. It met thrice, first in Washington, then in Vienna and then in London in January.

What is the most significant is Obama’s offer to get India membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports. If this happens India will join a very elite group.                                               (VD)


14-02-2015Narendra Modi gave Michelle Obama some stiff competition when he wore a pinstripe bandhgala suit wore during his talks with US President Barack Obama in Hyderabad House which had his name embroidered all over it. This started a social media outrage especially on Twitter where some users described Modi being a narcissist for choosing to wear his name all over his jacket. The doutrage began after close-up photographs of his suit showed that his full name, Narendra Damodardas Modi, was embroidered on the fabric vertically down the stripe. Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha took a dig on Modi and tweeted, “If it is true that Modi’s suit has his name embroidered, it is a first, and shockingly narcissistic, the self-proclaimed master of hype.” Twitterati also noted that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak used to wear suits with his name embossed on them. Allegedly the ‘name suit’ has been tailored by Jade Blue in Ahmedabad, the clothing chain that handles Modi’s wardrobe since his days as Chief Minister in Gujarat. It is interesting to note that the clothing chain’s proprietor Bipin Chauhan designed the much famous “Modi kurta”.

Excerpts Joint Statement “SHARED EFFORT; PROGRESS FOR ALL”


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama assessed the extensive bilateral strategic and global partnership between their two countries and pledged to continue to enhance cooperation across the spectrum of human endeavor to better their citizens’ lives and that of the global community.

Noting that the multifaceted partnership between the United States and India is rooted in shared values of democracy and strong economic and people-to-people ties, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi elevated the bilateral relationship through their endorsement of a new India-U.S. Delhi Declaration of Friendship, which builds on their 30 September Vision Statement by articulating tangible principles to guide ongoing efforts to advance mutual prosperity, a clean and healthy environment, greater economic cooperation, regional peace, security and stability for the larger benefit of humankind.

Recognizing the important role that both countries play in promoting peace, prosperity, stability and security in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, and noting that India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and the United States’ rebalance to Asia provide opportunities for India, the United States, and other Asia-Pacific countries to workclosely to strengthen regional ties, the Leaders announced a Joint Strategic Vision to guide their engagement in the region.

The Prime Minister and the President acknowledged and expressed satisfaction at the qualitative reinvigoration of strategic ties and the intensity of substantive interactions since the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in September 2014. They appreciated the focused action and accomplishments by both sides on the decisions taken during the Summit in September and in this regard, they welcomed:

The 30 September 2014 signing of an implementing agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to conduct the joint NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission.

The convening of the Defence Policy Group and its subgroups on 28-29 October 2014 to pursue stronger and expanded bilateral defence cooperation.

The breakthrough between India and the United States on issues relating to the implementation of the Bali Ministerial Decisions regarding public stockholding for food security purposes, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and post Bali work.

Prime Minister Modi and President Obama jointly appreciated the significant efforts undertaken by both sides in recent months to re-energize the strategic partnership, and affirmed expanding the substantive underpinnings of our diversified bilateral strategic partnership including through expanded strategic consultations, stronger defence, security, and economic cooperation.

President Obama also reiterated his support for Prime Minister Modi’s vision to transform India, and recognized that India’s focus on its development priorities presented substantial opportunities for forging stronger India-U.S. economic ties and greater people-to-people contacts. Reaffirming that India’s rise is also in the interest of the United States, regional and global stability, and global economic growth, President Obama reiterated the United States’ readiness to partner with India in this transformation. The two leaders pledged to translate their commitment of “Chalein Saath Saath”: “Forward Together We Go” of September into action through “Sanjha Prayaas; Sab Ka Vikaas”: “Shared Effort; Progress For All”.

Economic Growth

Prime Minister Modi and President Obama expressed confidence that continued bilateral collaboration will increase opportunities for investment, improve bilateral trade and investment ties and lead to the creation of jobs and prosperity in both economies. In this regard, the Leaders agreed to continue to strengthen their broad-based partnership for development through stronger trade, technology, manufacturing, and investment linkages between the two countries and triangular cooperation with partner countries, and that continued efforts to maintain labor standards as per domestic law and agreed international norms will make these linkages more durable. The two sides also committed to continuing to cooperate on the finalization of the Post-Bali Work Programme in the spirit of the Doha mandate.

President Obama commended Prime Minister Modi’s “Jan Dhan” scheme to prioritize financial inclusion for India’s poor. The Leaders noted India’s intent to join the Better Than Cash Alliance.

President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to further promote cooperative and commercial relations between India and the United States in the field of space. The leaders noted the on-going interactions between their space agencies, including towards realizing a dual frequency radar imaging satellite for Earth Sciences, and exploring possibilities for cooperation in studying Mars.

The Leaders took note of ongoing U.S.-India space cooperation, including the first face-to-face meeting of the ISRO-NASA Mars Working Group from 29-31 January 2015 in Bangalore, in which the two sides will consider opportunities for enhanced cooperation in Mars exploration, including potential coordinated observations and analysis between ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN). The Prime Minister and the President also welcomed continued progress toward enhanced space cooperation via the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group, which will meet later this year in India.

Defence and Homeland Security Cooperation

Prime Minister Modi and President Obama welcomed the efforts made by both sides to expand bilateral defence cooperation in areas of mutual interest and reaffirmed their commitment to continue to work towards deepening the bilateral defence relationship. The Leaders acknowledged bilateral military ties as the foundation of the defense relationship and encouraged their respective militaries to pursue additional opportunities for engagement through exercises, military personnel exchanges, and defense dialogues.

The Leaders also acknowledged the need for the two-way defence engagement to include technology cooperation and collaboration, co-production and co-development. To this end, the President and the Prime Minister emphasized the ongoing importance of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) in developing new areas of technology cooperation in the defence sector including through co-development and co-production and the Prime Minister welcomed the U.S. Defense Department’s establishment of a dedicated rapid reaction team focused exclusively on advancing DTTI. The Leaders expressed confidence that continued DTTI collaboration will yield additional joint projects in the near future.

Climate Change

The United States of America and the Republic of India recognize that global climate change is a profound threat to humanity and to the imperatives of sustainable development, growth and the eradication of poverty. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi share a deep concern regarding the climate challenge and understand that meeting it will require concerted action by their countries and the international community. They stressed the importance of enhancing their bilateral cooperation on adaptation measures, as well as joint research and development and technology innovation, adoption and diffusion for clean energy and efficiency solutions that will help achieve the goals of transitioning to a climate resilient and low carbon economy. They also stressed the importance of working together and with other countries to conclude an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in 2015. To this end, they plan to cooperate closely over the next year to achieve a successful agreement in Paris. The President and Prime Minister reaffirmed their prior understanding from September 2014 concerning the phase down of HFCs and agreed to cooperate on making concrete progress in the Montreal Protocol this year.

Global Issues and Regional Consultations

The Leaders agreed to expand their efforts to assist other developing countries and address global development challenges for the benefit of the wider region and the world and they lauded ongoing triangular assistance, which may involve U.S.-India collaboration to address development challenges in third countries in areas including health, energy, food security, disaster management, and women’s empowerment. The two sides noted that this collaboration, which is active with Afghanistan, East and West Africa, may be expanded to additional third countries.

In a further effort to strengthen global nonproliferation and export control regimes, the President and the Prime Minister committed to continue to work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. The President reaffirmed the United States’ position that India meets MTCR requirements and is ready for NSG membership and that it supports India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.

President Obama reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member, and both leaders committed to ensuring that the Security Council continues to play an effective role in maintaining international peace and security as envisioned in the United Nations Charter. They also committed to accelerate their peacekeeping capacity-building efforts in third countries.

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