Describing deepening India-US ties as one of President Barack Obama’s “most important foreign policy achievements,” a leading US daily today said the two democracies are finding “common cause” in countering China’s “aggression” in the South China Sea, climate change, fighting terror and investing in each other’s economic growth.
The New York Times in an editorial said as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Obama in Washington last week, many analysts were left puzzled over how and why the two leaders, so different in so many ways, get along.
“Whatever the reasons, what’s important is that they have significantly deepened the partnership between their two countries. It may be one of Obama’s most important foreign policy achievements,” the editorial said.
It said relations between New Delhi and Washington had been “testy” during the Cold War, turned warmer under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush but are now “producing concrete gains” under Obama.
“The two democracies are finding common cause in countering China’s aggression in the South China Sea, resisting climate change, fighting terrorism and investing in each other’s economic growth,” it said.
It praised the announcement by Modi and Obama to work towards ensuring implementation of the Paris climate deal and the growing cooperation on defence.
“Other vital issues will need work, now and far into the future, including the India-Pakistan-China nuclear competition that threatens the region. It will be up to the next president to build on a relationship that is on stronger footing now than it has been for some time,” it said.
The NYT has been critical of the Modi government and had written a scathing editorial on the eve of Modi’s visit to the US last week.
In the editorial, NYT had said that there should be “no exceptions for a nuclear India” and the country should meet the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s standards and open talks with Pakistan and China on curbing nuclear weapons if it wants to push its case for membership in the elite 48-nation group.
In the latest editorial, the leading and influential daily said the growing cooperation between the two countries on defence issues is “no less important” with the US formally recognising India as a major defence partner, making it eligible to buy some of the most sophisticated US-made weapons and technology without first having to receive a license.
“If there was any doubt that a message to China was intended, Modi told Congress that India appreciated America’s role in Asia and endorsed its commitment to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which Beijing is claiming largely as its own,” the editorial added.
Progress was also made on the nuclear deal that “has dragged on for years” when the two sides also announced plans to complete a deal under which India will buy six nuclear reactors from Westinghouse by June 2017, “fulfilling a promise” India made when it persuaded Bush in 2005 to lift an American ban on selling nuclear technology to India.