Thursday, November 13, 2008

India and Obama - in a nutshell

Indian-American community welcomes Obama as US President

Dharam Shourie New York Leaders of the Indian-American community today welcomed the election of Barack Obama as the next President of the US, expressing confidence that growing ties between the two countries would be further strengthened during his tenure. Chairman of the American Indians for Democrats Sant Singh Chatwal, a major fund-raiser for the party, said Obama along with Vice President Joseph Biden would follow a pragmatic foreign policy as they understand the reality of the global situation.
Biden, he noted, was instrumental in the successful conclusion of the landmark Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Deal. Chatwal, who was among the select leaders invited for the Democratic victory party in Washington, expressed the hope that Obama will be able to bring about real change and his "progressive" ideas would help lift the country's economy and enable the country forge wider alliances to fight terrorism and other such scourges.
Congratulating Obama on his "great victory", the Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC), USA, expressed the hope that the new president would continue to seek strengthening Indo-US relations. In a statement, its General Secretary George Abraham said that both India and the United States have common and pluralistic traditions and need to work together in resolving complex problems facing the world.
"The last few years under the Bush administration has seen ties between US and India grow culminating in the landmark civilian deal," he said, adding that INOC expects the relations to get further boost under Obama

India and Obama - in a nutshell

What Cheers India:
Natural Ally: Obama says building strategic partnership with India top priority and sees India as a natural strategic ally of the US in the 21st century.
Terrorism and Pakistan: More focussed on ending terrorism and Al Qaeda by concentrating on finishing Al Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan and bringing stability in Afghanistan. Plans to increase aid to Afghanistan.
Iraq and Muslim world: Promises withdrawal of troops in Iraq within 18 months - a fountainhead of hostility against the US in the Muslim world. Makes it easier for India to deal with a US with better standing in the Middle East.
Economy: Favours greater regulation of financial institutions.
Backs immigration reform and H1B visa programme.
What makes India cautious:
CTBT: Obama has strong views on non-proliferation. May try to force India to accept CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) and provoke a fresh debate in India on this sensitive issue. Shouldn't be a problem after the US, China come on board.
Kashmir: May try to play peace-keeper in Kashmir, a tendency that is likely to be resented and opposed by India which sees Kashmir as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and one that does not need third-party intervention.
Outsourcing: India fears global financial meltdown may force Obama to turn protectionist.

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