Now that Namo is back from one of his many “phoren” trips it is time to examine the goodies he has brought back for us. It is gratifying for us to get that pleasant whiff of an enhancement of India’s relationship with the US. Reaching out to the Representatives and Senators our very own master communicator played on the “India-US bhai bhai” theme with commendable success. He emphasized the basic similarities, the importance of democracy, freedom and liberty for both countries. He also allayed fears about growing religious intolerance in the country.
Without taking names he played on security concerns about China reiterating that it needs America by its side and also that it was in the interests of the US to have “a stronger and prosperous India” as it’s ally. Thus one of the goodies is that India and US are to be “priority partners” in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
A major step forward is the formal inclusion of India into the MTRC, a 34 nation group. India has come a long way from the sanctions that were imposed against it. India’s restrain in not supplying any nuclear materials (unlike Pakistan) to rogue countries like Iran, Libya and North Korea has finally paid off leading to it’s being recognised as a responsible country and deserving a place in the nuclear club. Needless to say that being a member of this club will give many benefits to India in the defense, technology and nuclear fields.
Modi has also won the support of the US, Switzerland and Mexico for India to join the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) at the Plenary later this month, which would give it a seat at the nuclear high table and facilitate nuclear exports from the country. India has been vying for that seat since 2008. The US is urging other countries to support India. However, China is playing spoil sport by already opposing the membership and there is hardly any chance this time of a phone call from Obama rectifying the situation. So it remains to be seen whether this one is going to come through after all.
Meanwhile, there are other goodies to cheer us on. The US recognizes India as a “major defense partner” or MDP. India can now acquire and exchange advanced defense technology with the US and others. The US also supports Modi’s Make in India objective.
What our PM pulls out of the bag next is an agreement to buy six nuclear reactors from Westinghouse, a US-Japan firm. The building of these civil reactors will greatly contribute to India’s energy security.
The US has also pledged $20 million as part of the US India Clean Energy Finance Initiative, considering that climate change is an issue which is dear to both Modi and Obama. $40 million has also been pledged for US India Catalytic Solar Finance programme to encourage use of solar energy in rural areas and in small scale ventures in both countries.
As if all of this is still not enough we have a shared commitment to cyber security and a commitment to contain terrorism.
There is also an International Expedited Traveler’s initiative which will facilitate and ease the movement of more than 1.5 billion people between the US and India.