Reflecting growing India-US ties, President Barack Obama will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his monthly radio address to the people of India on January 27. This would be the first time in history two heads of two largest democracies are on radio sharing their thoughts with the general public. Let this be a turning point in both democracies for eradicating terrorism. Modi’s monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’ this time will be a special one with Obama, who will be the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day. Modi has been addressing the nation over radio every month since October last year through the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme. Significantly, when Modi visited the US in September last year, he and Obama had written a joint op-ed in a major American daily.
There are various other issues which would be discussed between Modi and Obama. India’s size, location, fast-growing economy and potential as a democratic counterbalance to China makes the South Asian nation an increasingly key element of U.S. military and commercial strategy in return for closer ties, India wants greater cooperation on terrorism and access to high-technology goods for civilian and military use.The United States overtook Russia as the biggest weapons supplier to India, the Indian government said in August. India is the world’s biggest importer of weapons and the United States is the biggest arms supplier. Standing in the way of closer ties are Indian restrictions on foreign companies owning majority stakes in defence companies and U.S. curbs on exporting certain technologies.
US and Indian officials will discuss ways to unblock billions of dollars of potential trade in nuclear energy. India and the United States signed a landmark civilian nuclear deal in 2008. Holding up the trade is India’s resistance to clearing legislation shielding suppliers from liability in the event of a nuclear accident, which is seen as a deviation from international norms. India wants companies from the United States to help lead investments of $100 billion in renewable energy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to help renewable energy companies overcome entry to the Indian market during his trip to Washington last year. A barrier to investment is a requirement that foreign companies make much of the equipment within India, which business leaders say will push up costs.
The United States and India are expected to announce efforts to work together to combat climate change ahead of key global talks in Paris later this year. India, the world’s third largest carbon emitter, is reluctant to follow the United States and China in committing to a peak year for emissions on the grounds it needs economic growth to alleviate poverty. Instead, India is likely to highlight its plans for a rapid expansion of renewable energy, for which it needs U.S. investment and technology, and improving energy efficiency.
Prime Minister Modi and President Obama last year targeted a five-fold increase in annual trade to $500 billion. But US business leaders have been frustrated by limits on their access to the Indian market, and battles over intellectual property protection. India and the United States have also filed several cases against each other at the World Trade Organisation over protection of their domestic steel, poultry and solar industries. But most crucial issue would be eradicating terrorism and clutching the so called jihadist.
Hoping this meeting between two lenders brings glory to present time, apart from this Modi should give some follow up and feedback on his previous programme on ‘Mann Ki Baat’ to people, like he had emphasised the importance of ‘Clean India’ in earlier episode on radio. He should frame a law making it mandatory for all citizens to offer say 15 days of scavenging service and prepare a roaster for it. On his part, Modi should ensure public toilets are constructed and garbage disposal is taken care off. Also, the existing laws on making public places dirty should be enforced strictly. This entire exercise should be delegated to states, municipalities and corporations and centre should only provide funds and monitor the project.
There are more serious issues like unemployment, infrastructure, power, agriculture in which he should involve himself directly. The PM should know that he is not running a charitable organisation where involvement of everyone is required. Modi is in power – he can make the law, enforce the law and punish the violators. This is totally new and fantastic innovation of PM India to interact with the people of India. His ‘Mann Ki Baat’ is very inspiring and ignites us to do something for our mother land.
Everyone has a common view that Modiji is totally devoted for special India. His government is making claims that they are performing good work. Some of the programmes such as PM Jan Dhan Yojana for financial inclusion, Swachh Bharat plan in place of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA), Make in India initiative are really commendable. We can now hope for better India. Meanwhile, dear readers you don’t forget to ask your question tomorrow by participating in “#AskObamaModi and be a part of this memorable ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, illustrating a special bond between India and USA.