US President Barack Obama has attended India’s Republic Day parade in Delhi making him the first US head of state to be present at the event. His attendance was part of a three day visit to the country to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The visit might be seen as a strengthening of the relationship between the two countries as trade appeared to be at the crux of discussions.
The visit has appeared to lead to a breakthrough about a pact that may allow US companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology. During a press conference following the talks President Obama referred to the pact, “This is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship”. It is thought that President Obama may also aim to achieve progress on climate change and defense with Prime Minister Modi. During the trip US officials have appeared to be highlighting the refreshed partnership between the United States and India.
Prime Minister Modi, a Hindu nationalist, won India’s General Election in May last year by a significant margin. The Prime Minister’s conservative, pro-business party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 282 out of 543 directly elected seats which rose to 340 after the BJP established its coalition. Prime Minister Modi and his party’s campaign utilized technology significantly with daily 3D hologram shows that were broadcast live to 1,300 locations and were seen by an estimated 7 million people over a twelve-day period. Furthermore, the Prime Minister is seen to be a skilled public speaker with policy emphasis on economic growth rather than subsidies.
India and the United States have an agreement covering the research and development of defense systems, which may also be an area of discussion between the two leaders. Furthermore, it is believed that President Obama might also discuss a strengthening of India’s environmental standards in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions of the large and developing nation. Whilst the conclusions that President Obama and Prime Minister Modi reach on these topics might only be revealed in the next year it may seem that this visit might be looked back on as the key framework of relations between India and the United States.
India is an increasing powerful nation on the world stage as its large population and potential to be one of the largest economies in the world make it an important global partner. The US may be looking for a way in which to tie the two countries together and strengthen relations for the economic benefits that increased investment might bring. Furthermore, with the Indian Prime Minister being a business friendly leader US companies might be looking at expanding operations in India due to its potential to have such a large middle class capable of purchasing goods. President Obama’s personal visit may appear to illustrate the importance the United States places on the relationship between the two countries.
The strengthening of links between the US and India might be seen to give stability in regard to the challenges of Pakistan and India’s relationship. Equally, it may drive economic benefits for both countries as mutual investment between India and the US might create increased wealth in each. Prime Minister Modi’s declarations to boost economic growth has changed government policy from subsidies and may move the country to more wealth equality in the future. Closer ties between the United States and India might also change politics in the region. In addition, India has appeared to be strengthening its ties with China, which may in turn create an opening for more efficient and productive talks on climate change and the protection of the environment.
What productive effects might closer ties between India and the US have?