Obama’s Visit to India – A Watershed

President Obama is in India in this month of November. The visit is significant, as it shows that for the first time the USA considers India an important player on the world scene. No US President has ever come to India during their first term and Obama is thus the first US President to visit India in the first term. All earlier visits by US presidents were in their second terms, as successive US Presidents made a bee line for China the west and Japan. India never featured on their horizon during the first term. In addition all visits to the sub continent were tacked along with a visit to Pakistan. No US president visited India and obviated visiting Pakistan.

This time Obama is on a 6 day visit and to India alone and Pakistan is not being visited. This again shows that the USA has realized the importance of India in this part of Asia. However the Visit of the US president is after he has already visited Japan and China earlier. This again shows that as yet, the USA does not consider India a peer of China. For this perhaps the blame lies with the Indian government that has not projected India at par with China in any field, Military or industrial. The visit is however a watershed in Indo-USA relations.

The US has endorsed India’s claim to be member of the Security Council. This by itself is not a mean achievement, as India is trying for UN Security Council seat for decades. In addition billion of dollars of trade and financial agreements are on the anvil as the USA pushes for markets for its goods. With recession at home Obama perhaps had no choice but to go in for massive billion dollars trade and financial agreements. Another gain is the US commitment to fight terror.

Though Obama has done the tight rope walk and not mentioned Pakistan as the fomenter of terrorism, yet he has endorsed the war on terror and India can be sure to an extant of US support for this cause. He has however mentioned that safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan is unacceptable.The dead lock on Kashmir remains and Obama has followed a safe path.He has asked for a bilateral solution as India wants and has mentioned that the US has no solution to offer. Perhaps the Kashmir issue will simmer for a long time to come. The visit of the US president needs to be appreciated and India can draw solace from the fact in the final reckoning, the importance of India is on the rise.

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