As United States President Barack Obama is set to demit the office on January 20 next year, it is time to look at his policy towards India and assess whether the bilateral relationship under his tenure has managed to achieve the mission successful tag or it was all rhetoric and an unfinished journey. American media has also highlighted this growing bonhomie between a developed economy and one which has been striving to become a key player. In its latest editorial, the New York Times has termed United States’ India policy as a crucial one to counter and neutralise China’s “brazen efforts to claim most of the South China Sea as its own, transforming reefs and rocks into artificial islands with airstrips and military structures”.
“Building on work done by the Clinton and Bush administrations, Mr. Obama has brought Indian-American relations to a new level of cooperation, culminating in last month’s defense agreement, which had been under negotiation for a decade,” the report said.
With India remaining the pivotal in US’ Asia policy, especially when China is growing military capabilities and its steadfast efforts to assert supremacy in the region, the US President had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for one-on-one interaction eight times in the last two years.
At the G20 summit in China, Obama had praised the PM’s achievement in clearing the landmark tax reform of “GST” as an example of “bold policy” in an otherwise “difficult global economic scenario”.
Modi and Obama met for the first time at the White House in September 2014 when the Prime Minister travelled to Washington DC at the invitation of Obama. To return the favour the US President was invited as the chief guest for the Republic Day Parade last year.
It was the first time that India has invited an American president to be chief guest at its Republic Day and for a first a US President visited the country twice while in office.
According to the Central government, the two sides set a target to increase bilateral trade in goods & services to $500 billion. USAID will serve as knowledge partner for the Urban India Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) alliance with to help leverage business and civil society (Gates Foundation) to facilitate access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation in 500 Indian cities, the report said.
It has been a journey that did not experience too many crossroads. However, it may change soon as US is set for 58th quadrennial presidential election on November 8.