After Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Clinton and Bush, Barack Obama becomes the sixth US President to visit India. Of course, he will be the first US President to be the chief guest in our Republic Day parade. As far as Republic Day parade is concerned, presidents/ top leaders of USSR/ Russia, Presidents of France, PMs of UK and Japan besides many other important nations have been the chief guests. Obama will be the first United States president to be the guest of honour on the occasion, in a move that signals India-US ties are moving in the right direction following Modi’s visit to Washington last month. This will be Obama’s second visit to India, also a record of sorts as no US president has been to India twice while in office. His first was in November 2010, during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s tenure, at the invitation of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He had addressed a joint session of parliament.
Modi, as the Gujarat chief minister was denied by the US an official visa in 2005, and was deprived of his tourist-business visa in the aftermath of the 2002 riots. However, the US signaled a thaw in ties in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, in which Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured a landslide victory. President Obama did call to congratulate Modi – though he was not the first, other world leaders beat him to it – and invited him to the White House. Irrespective of the individual personalities of US Presidents and Indian Prime Ministers, both the oldest and the largest democracies of the world would serve humanity better by working together. The excavating friendship is not merely a sign of good consensual vibes; it shows the healthy respect that India is gaining as a vibrantly functioning democracy in the developing world. This friendship indirectly fosters belief in democratic values, and human rights across the world.
Obama’s visit on Republic Day will have some positive impact on India-Pakistan border relations in regard to Jammu & Kashmir issues. The participation of Obama at the coming Republic Day celebrations will send a strong signal to China also, his presence in India will give appropriate messages to all neighbouring countries, which are probable threat to our country. This will also indicate a major shift in our policy of bureaucratic decision giving way to Political decision making of foreign policy of India. On the other hand, US too needs a strong country like India to sacrifice at the altar of Taliban and ISIS to save their head. The benefit of such involvement will definitely go to China and Pakistan.
US is a great nation, and home for many countries’ citizens. US, however, is also too much materialistic while dealing with rest of the world, and economic benefits seem to outweigh morality. Narendra Modi is in resonance with the capitalists in US, EU and India, but he is still not walking the talk with regards to cleaning up governance and politics that are lot more difficult to achieve and should be the top priority.
Obama should do what Richard Nixon did to China. He should come with a gift of permanent seat for India in UNSC with full veto power. If needed, he should let France or UK vacate their seat for India. India is the largest democracy in the world, and one of the oldest civilisations. India needs a full-fledged recognition and support, not token and symbolic gestures. Narendra Modi should come out clean as US always looked away when great leaders like Nehru and Indira Gandhi were at the helm.
US and India both are secular and strongly promote secular values and respect for all faiths worldwide. The US also separates religion from state by law and constitution at home. “Secularists” as you call them is what Modi goes for too. If Modi says anything in public or on the international stage against secularism and calls for “Hindu Rashtra” then he will end up as unrealistic and make our country look primitive and backward. All his international outreach will be rebuffed and all his diplomatic gains will be lost. Whatever, but this is a great moment where two great leaders, representing the largest section of democratic world, with a fervor to eliminate the miseries of billions of people on this planet, can change the destiny of a destitute humanity. Humble backgrounds of both of them make them people’s darlings. One controls the strongest military power on the earth – the other a staunch follower of saints and philosophers who proliferated the might of Peace and Spirituality. One controls the biggest economic might – the other a humungous work force. Great things can happen if these two powerful forces join together.
Welcome Dear Obama, once again in India…