First US Pres­i­dent at Repub­lic Day


Pres­i­dent Obama’s pres­ence at the Repub­lic Day 2015 will likely not only be cer­e­mo­nial, it should fast for­ward the USIn­dia Strate­gic Part­ner­ship as also ac­cel­er­ate the Indo-US Nu­clear Ac­cord.

In what is be­ing de­scribed as a diplo­matic coup, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in­vited Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to be the chief guest at the Repub­lic Day Pa­rade 2015. The invitation was re­port­edly de­liv­ered by Prime Min­is­ter Modi dur­ing his visit to Myan­mar and Aus­tralia, when he met with Pres­i­dent Obama at the East Asia Sum­mit and the G-20 meet­ing of world lead­ers. It is def­i­nite in­di­ca­tion of the deep­en­ing ties be­tween In­dia and the US. It is only after re­ceiv­ing con­fir­ma­tion of Pres­i­dent Obama’s visit the Prime Min­is­ter Modi had tweeted, “This Repub­lic Day, we hope to have a friend over… in­vited Pres­i­dent Obama to be the 1st US Pres­i­dent to grace the oc­ca­sion as Chief Guest.” Con­cur­rently, a state­ment by the White House Press Sec­re­tary on the of­fi­cial web­site noted, “This will mark the first time a US Pres­i­dent will have the hon­our of at­tend­ing Repub­lic Day, which com­mem­o­rates the adop­tion of In­dia’s con­sti­tu­tion. The Pres­i­dent will meet with the Prime Min­is­ter and In­dian of­fi­cials to strengthen and ex­pand the US-In­dia strate­gic part­ner­ship.” It is not that Prime Min­is­ter Modi and Pres­i­dent Obama have met pe­ri­od­i­cally in re­cent past dur­ing the for­mer’s visit to the US and later in Myan­mar and Aus­tralia, it is also the propen­sity of Prime Min­is­ter Modi to af­fect the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­nec­tion that has helped el­e­vate the re­la­tions be­tween both coun­tries.

The con­cern shown by Prime Min­is­ter Modi at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly about mar­itime safety in Asi­aPa­cific, threat of Europe fac­ing new di­vi­sion, ter­ror­ism etc were common to both coun­tries. While Modi made a com­mand­ing bond with In­dian Americans, a joint Modi-Obama op-ed in Wash­ing­ton Post as pre­lude to of­fi­cial dis­cus­sion be­tween the two talked of com­mit­ment to democ­racy, lib­erty, di­ver­sity, en­ter­prise bound by common val­ues and mu­tual in­ter­ests, nat­u­ral and unique part­ner­ship can help shape in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity and peace for years to come. Fi­nally, the Vi­sion State­ment for the US-In­dia Strate­gic Part­ner­ship “Chalein Saath Saath: For­ward We Go” was the crown­ing feat of Modi’s visit, ma­jor points of which are: cur­rents of kin­ship and com­merce, schol­ar­ship and sci­ence tie our coun­tries to­gether al­low­ing to rise above dif­fer­ences by main­tain­ing long-term per­spec­tive; co­op­er­a­tion for­ti­fies a re­la­tion­ship that matches in­nu­mer­able ties be­tween peo­ples pro­duc­ing works of art and mu­sic, cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy and re­sponse to cri­sis; part­ner­ship joint en­deav­our for pros­per­ity

and peace; to­gether, we will com­bat ter­ror­ist threats, re­spond ex­pe­di­tiously to hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ters and crises, pre­vent spread of WMDs and re­main com­mit­ted to re­duce salience of nu­clear weapons while pro­mot­ing univer­sal, ver­i­fi­able, and non-dis­crim­i­na­tory nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment; support open and in­clu­sive rules-based global or­der, in which In­dia as­sumes greater mul­ti­lat­eral re­spon­si­bil­ity, in­clud­ing in a re­formed UNSC; join to­gether to mit­i­gate im­pact of cli­mate change; part­ner to en­sure both coun­tries have af­ford­able, clean, re­li­able, and di­verse sources of en­ergy, in­clud­ing ef­forts to bring Amer­i­can-ori­gin nu­clear power tech­nolo­gies to In­dia; en­sure eco­nomic growth in both coun­tries to bet­ter liveli­hoods and wel­fare for all in­clud­ing value ed­u­ca­tion and skills; joint re­search and col­lab­o­ra­tion in ev­ery as­pect— rang­ing from par­ti­cles of cre­ation to outer space, pro­duc­ing bound­less in­no­va­tion and high tech­nol­ogy col­lab­o­ra­tion; open mar­kets, fair and trans­par­ent prac­tices in trade in goods and ser­vices; col­lab­o­ra­tion in tack­ling in­fec­tious dis­eases, elim­i­nate ma­ter­nal and child deaths, erad­i­cate poverty and em­pow­er­ment of women in a se­cure en­vi­ron­ment; ex­pand and deepen strate­gic part­ner­ship in or­der to har­ness the in­her­ent po­ten­tial of two democ­ra­cies and bur­geon­ing ties be­tween our peo­ple, economies, and busi­nesses, seek­ing re­li­able and en­dur­ing friend­ship that bol­sters se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity, con­tribut­ing to global econ­omy, and ad­vanc­ing peace and pros­per­ity through­out the world, and; that this trans­for­ma­tive re­la­tion­ship as trusted part­ners in the 21st cen­tury will be a model for the rest of the world.

The im­por­tance of US-In­dia Strate­gic Part­ner­ship is in­creas­ing by the day, main fac­tors be­ing: the Great Game un­fold­ing in the In­dian Ocean re­gion (IOR) with China es­tab­lish­ing 18 naval bases in the re­gion, pro­lif­er­a­tion of Chi­nese nu­clear sub­marines with some dock­ing in the re­gion un­der pre­text of rest and re­coup; Chi­nese ag­gres­sive­ness not show­ing any respite in the Asia-Pa­cific, IOR and along the line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC); tun­nel­ing and Chi­nese mis­siles re­port­edly be­ing de­ployed in Gil­git-Baltistan to support op­er­a­tions in IOR; con­tin­u­ing pol­icy of ter­ror­ism by im­plod­ing Pak­istan, per­sis- tent rants on Kashmir with­out le­gal stand­ing and Chi­nese support to Pak­istan; Pak­istan arm­ing her ves­sels at sea with tac­ti­cal nu­clear weapons; in­creased ter­ror threat of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Tal­iban, LeT etc in Af-Pak and South Asia in­clud­ing, Mal­dives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myan­mar, and; pres­ence of PLA in all de­vel­op­ment projects taken up by China glob­ally that would in­clude the Chi­naPak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor and other projects in Pak­istan Oc­cu­pied Kashmir (PoK) and Pak­istan with at­ten­u­at­ing ef­fects. US de­fence in­dus­try is look­ing to ex­plore pos­si­bil­ity of US part­ner­ing de­vel­op­ment of In­dia’s next-gen­er­a­tion air­craft car­rier, sell In­dia un­con­ven­tional oil and gas, per­mit US com­pa­nies to use In­dian space launch ser­vices, ac­cel­er­ate US ef­forts to in­te­grate In­dia into the mul­ti­lat­eral non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regimes, deepen mean­ing­ful cy­ber-de­fence co­op­er­a­tion with In­dia, follow up on projects sub­sumed by the In­doUS De­fence Trade and Tech­nol­ogy Ini­tia­tive (DTTI), over­com­ing im­passe over the nu­clear li­a­bil­ity law, etc. In­dia looks to im­ple­ment the Vi­sion State­ment for the US-In­dia Strate­gic Part­ner­ship “Chalein Saath Saath, en­abling In­dia’s growth and con­tribut­ing to sta­bil­ity in the re­gion in ad­di­tion to bridg­ing In­dia’s asym­me­tries vis-à-vis its ad­ver­saries. The re­cent re­ports about Pres­i­dent Obama hav­ing ap­proved guide­lines to al­low US forces in Afghanistan to tar­get Tal­iban fight­ers, broad­en­ing pre­vi­ous plans that had limited the mil­i­tary for counter mis­sions against Al Qaeda this year is a wel­come step that would per­mit air support to Afghan forces when needed. Pres­i­dent Obama’s pres­ence at the Repub­lic Day 2015 will likely not only be cer­e­mo­nial, it should fast for­ward the US-In­dia Strate­gic Part­ner­ship as also ac­cel­er­ate the Indo-US Nu­clear Ac­cord. It pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for Pres­i­dent Obama to ex­er­cise such for­eign pol­icy ini­tia­tive con­sid­er­ing the dy­nam­ics of the IOR and the shape that they would take by the time the 58th qua­dren­nial US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion are held (due on Novem­ber 8, 2016), while he will con­tinue to ex­er­cise full ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers till Jan­uary 20, 2017.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in a bi­lat­eral meet­ing with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama,

at the White House in Wash­ing­ton DC

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