Us-Indo Relations Coming Together!
Kem che greeting in Gujarati by President Obama as he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time at White House, not only developed a rapport between the two leaders but subsequently raised the US-Indo relationship to a new high. The two had an extended discussion resolving to broaden their cooperation in various fields including defence, intelligence, counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, space exploration and science.
Modi said in comments, made shortly after the talks ended, that said the US was an integral part of India’s Look East, Link West policy. “It is natural for India and US to have a strategic relationship. We already have the foundation for a strong partnership and now we have to revive momentum between the two countries.”
The two leaders also discussed thornier issues, with Modi saying that he had made the point that India supports trade facilitation at the WTO, but expects the country’s concerns on food security to be addressed. He also pushed for easier access to the US market for Indian service companies.
Modi clarified, “India wants to resolve hurdles in the way of the civil nuclear agreement as this was important for the country’s energy security.” President Obama said there was much common ground between the two nations and that they had agreed to cooperate on tackling issues such as the Ebola outbreak, for which India has pledged $12 million. “We discussed international situation, security issues and Middle East violence and extremism. We discussed trade and how we can work with each other.”
Earlier, the two leaders said it was time “to set a new agenda, one that realises concrete benefits for our citizens” in a jointly signed piece in The Washington Post that was published. “This will be an agenda that enables us to find mutually rewarding ways to expand our collaboration in trade, investment and technology that harmonise with India’s ambitious development agenda, while sustaining the United States as the global engine of growth.”
Modi said, he was inspired by the extraordinary interest in India in the US and said that “we will draw strength and inspiration from this.” He also invited US defence companies to come to India as part of his bid to boost investment. “The president and I spoke about many of the reforms we are undertaking and the focus on making it easy to do business in India. I expect business and economic ties between the two countries would grow at a great pace.”
“I am going to make an india of your dreams”
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, exhorted Indians to join in the development effort as a mass movement. “I am going to make an India of your dreams,” the Prime Minister said as he exhorted the Indian American community to join in the development effort for India. He was addressing the Indian diaspora at a historic event at Madison Square Garden in New York. The event was attended by over 18,000 people.
The Prime Minister said that following the election results, there has been a renewed sense of hope and expectation about India. He said all Indian Americans today wanted to renew their links with India.
The Prime Minister highlighted the unique combination of three great strengths that India has: democracy, demography and demand. He said that for India, democracy is not just a system of governance, but an article of faith.
Narendra Modi said winning the election is a huge responsibility and he will leave no stone unturned to make India a developed country. He said that with the blessings of 125 crore Indians, he was confident that the common man`s hopes and aspirations will be fulfilled. “I will do nothing to make you feel ashamed,” the Prime Minister said. He said that the country now had the capability, the possibility and the opportunity to make the 21st century India`s century. He said India is both the youngest nation and oldest civilization on earth.
Saying that development is ultimately achieved through public participation, the Prime Minister said he wants to make development a mass movement, just like Mahatma Gandhi had made the freedom movement a mass movement. He highlighted various initiatives that have been initiated by the new Government including Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Make in India, Swachh Bharat and Clean Ganga.
The Prime Minister referred to the talent of Indian youth, as exemplified by the success of Mars Orbiter Mission. The Prime Minister also highlighted his stress on skill development and said India could soon emerge as a global supplier of skilled workforce like nurses and teachers. The Prime Minister invited the Indian diaspora to share their suggestions through the platform MyGov.in He said one of his key initiatives was to remove redundant laws, and he would be happy if he could do so at a pace of one a day. He said governance should be for aspirations of common man.
People didn’t make me PM to do easy things, he remarked.
He said 2015 marked a century since the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India. He invited all Pravasi Bharatiyas to join in the celebration, and contribute towards developing India. He said Indians must present Swachh Bharat as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th anniversary in 2019. Referring to his effort for a Clean Ganga, he said the Indian diaspora across the world revered the River Ganga. He said a clean Ganga would improve economic prospects for upto 40 percent of India`s population, for which the river was like a lifeline. He also referred to his vision of “Housing for All” on the 75th anniversary of Independence.
The Prime Minister unveiled a series of facilitation initiatives aimed at making travel from America to India easier:
Noting that there are certain differences between the PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) schemes, the Prime Minister said PIO cardholders will be granted visa for life, and a new scheme will be announced soon, merging the two schemes.
He said there would be no need for long-stay visitors to India to visit police stations. He also announced long term tourist visas for American citizens and said visa on arrival for American tourists will be announced soon.
(Uday India Bureau)
In another unusual gesture President Obama went with Modi to the Martin Luther King Memorial. A joint statement later said, “As global partners, we are committed to enhancing our homeland security by sharing intelligence, through counterterrorism and law-enforcement cooperation, while we jointly work to maintain freedom of navigation and lawful commerce across the seas.”
The most crucial agreement was on joint operations for countering terrorism and sharing intelligence. Faced by a common threat from terrorism, including in South Asia, the two leaders committed to intensify efforts to combat terrorism, proliferation of WMDs, nuclear terrorism, cross-border crime, and address the misuse of the internet for terrorist purposes, in compliance with respective laws. The two leaders welcomed the continuation of the Counter-Terrorism Joint Working Group process, sustained exchanges of senior experts, and the upcoming meeting of the Working Group in 2014. They also welcomed plans to hold the next Ministerial Homeland Security Dialogue. They agreed to have their Central Authorities meet to discuss ways to improve mutual legal assistance and extradition processes.They also agreed to work towards greater cooperation in cyber security and reducing cybercrime. More alarming for Pakistan was the meeting between India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Secretary of the State John Kerry. Both Swaraj and Secretary Kerry reiterated their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and reaffirmed their commitment to eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, and disrupting terrorist networks including Al-Qa’ida and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The leaders called for Pakistan to work toward bringing the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice.
Modi Reached A Historic Milestone At Madison Square
Called by the New York Times Social Media Politician, it is a wonder that Narendra Modi’s feet are still on the ground, he must indeed be “special” as his mother assessed him. No human being would be able to resist the overwhelming warmth, adulation and the admiration of frenzied crowds treating him as one having Superman’s prowess, and not be swayed. Indeed the kind of electric atmosphere of expectation and excitement and the splendorous ovation he received when he came and slowly walked up to the revolving platform, was something unprecedented. No Indian Prime Minister had, neither received so much attention and coverage by the American media nor adulated by the Diaspora as Modi got.
When Manmohan Singh went to Washington for his last bilateral talks with President Obama, Washington Post did not even considered it worthy coverage. But it has not only been writing about Modi while he was in the US but before he landed in New York.
The ambience was awesome. “Minimum government, maximum governance,” the words on-screen read, quoting one of the prime minister’s many mottos. “Red carpet, not red tape, to foster growth.” Then the Garden’s big screen returned to its default image: an illustration of Modi’s face against the colors of the Indian flag that recalled Shepard Fairey’s famous “Hope” poster of President Obama.
The clapping, cheering and chanting of Modi, Modi by the crowd outside the Madison Square was unprecedented. “They wore his face on their chests, waved it on posters, chanted his name and quoted his slogans, 19,000 fans drawn to a single star. “His image stared down from the big screen at Madison Square Garden and emerged on canvas in a live speed-painting onstage. And when the man himself emerged, the capacity crowd in New York’s most storied arena roared as one, as if all the Knicks, all the Rangers, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen had suddenly materialised,” said a report in the Times.
“Modi! Modi! Modi!” the audience chanted, drowning out the announcer’s attempt to introduce the man who needed no introduction: Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, whom 19,000 people had travelled from around the country and Canada to see speaking on his first trip to the United States since being elected in May.
The American tour has showcased Modi as a diplomat and world leader—he has addressed the United Nations General Assembly and met President Obama—but on Sunday, he was all celebrity, embracing the adulation of a diaspora that maintains strong ties to the motherland, wrote the Times.
The TV channels’ teams of correspondents interacted with some of the people who were lucky to be among 20,000 who could get seats in the Hall. And also with those who could not get tickets and but gathered outside to watch the proceeding on huge screens. Their comments would give swollen head to anyone however balanced one might be.
But what was amazing that even before he spoke, most interviewed, young, middle-aged and the old were full of emotion for India, those who migrated were plainly nostalgic and the young ones who had never been to the country of their ancestors were seemingly eager to get to the country. The refrain was we would love to keep one foot or even relocate to India given the development and changes Modi is effecting. One late 30ish working for IBM said he would go back once health services are assured and he is sure of quick justice.
He is not only leader of India who has put back India in the global arena, but a world leader—He will with his concept of Sab Ka Vikas Sab Ke Saath, change India and put it on its way to becoming a super power. He is a global leader who will be one of those who would change the face of the earth. All this was simply astounding. His ability to connect with all age groups and with people of different regions, different dialects, customs and values during his near 400 rallies he addressed in the run up for the General Election earlier this year was admired even by his critics.
But, his ability to stir emotions and make American Indians long for a re-connect with the country of their origin, stupefied even the US Congres-smen and diplomats. One seasoned Congressman said, “He gave an inspiring speech.” And this evocative, inspiring address to 19,000 American Indians lasting a little over an hour was by Narendra Modi, who was keeping fast during Navratra, thus was having plain water for over 100 hours.
“His speech, when it came, did not disappoint. Casting himself as a man of humble origins with “the intention to do big things for small people,” he vowed to promote Indian economic growth, clean up the polluted Ganges River and improve the lot of the country’s poor and disadvantaged. He promised to make it easier for those of Indian descent to obtain visas, so that members of the Indian diaspora might bring their talents back to the homeland.
“Old and young, Indian-born and American-born, the crowd laughed and roared, hollered and clapped.“You have given me a lot of love,” Modi said, as the audience surged to its feet. “This kind of love has never been given to any Indian leader, ever. I’m very grateful to you. And I will repay that loan by forming the India of your dreams.”
He half-jokingly said, “The tasks are extremely difficult. That is why I have been chosen prime minister.”
The message from Madison Square to the Diaspora the world over was that Modi was committed for change and development of India and he was keen to link up with them through easier access to the country and hassle-free, simpler visa formalities. He urged them to persuade at least five families natives in a year of their chosen country to travel to India to boost tourism and economy.
The message from Madison Square Garden meeting to the Obama administration was of greater import—that it had to deal with a prime minister who not only had support of huge majority of people in his own country, but also had an emotional link and support of over three million American Indians. Democrats and Republicans need their votes. Modi’s mesmerizing moments in Madison Square would be one of the underlying factor in forging strategic partnership between India and the US . (VD)
This could change the geopolitics of the region. The banning of some groups based in Pakistan apart, the “commitment to eliminating terrorists safe havens and infrastructure…” would affect Dawood Ibrahim and Hafeez Saeed. And thus the ISI’s plans against India.
A piquant situation could develop over sharing of intelligence. So far the intelligence was shared with the Pak Army. It seems that while India has gained beyond imagination, Pakistan has been put on alert.
Shall one thank Modi? President Obama was impressed by his energy Secretary Kerry was enthused over Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas so much that he said .’Chalein saath saath forward together we go’.
By Vijay Dutt