India-US ties touching new heights

D.K KOTWAL
PM Modi set out on his seven nation tour by jointly inaugurating with president of Afghanistan, Afghan-India Friendship Dam on June 4 in Herat province. The dam completion is the result of 1500 Indian and Afghan engineers and other professionals’ work in very difficult situation. It will add to the prosperity of Afghanistan, though the visit of all these countries by our PM is very vital from the point view of our grabbing their nod in India’s favour for its entry into the group of NSG and clinching many other agreements in different aspects, yet his last visit to the United States during the presidency of Mr. Barak Obama was notable on so many counts. Never  before  except  for the anguished plea in the 1962 conflict with china, New Delhi has in so explicit terms expressed  its wish to have defense relationship with Washington. For the safe guard of its national interest, India has for the first time aligned militarily with the U.S keeping the policy of non-alignment on the back burner as the age of non-alignment was dead and gone long before Mr. Modi assumed office. Entry into the elite NSG club remains still elusive but the most symbolic act of PM was laying wreaths at Arlington cemetery for the American martyrs dead in many wars they fought for the values of democracy, liberty, and peaceful co-existence there by striking a chord of friendship as India too has fought long wars for the acquisition of the values as mentioned above.
It is not far away to explain such a tilt of India towards U.S, China’s assertiveness and belligerent regional attitude especially making Pakistan as a cat’s paw, New Delhi had no option but to rely on the U.S, still the most powerful nation in the world to balance Beijing’s growing power. Besides, Mr. Modi is said to have scored personal triumph by addressing joint session of congress, the body that had denied him visa for a visit of U.S when he was Gujarat chief minister following Gujarat communal riots. During his tour there was a congressional hearing on India’s human rights record but it was clear that American establishment was looking the other way in view of its stakes in enlisting India for larger geopolitical purposes. Before his visit it was conveyed to the Obama administration and other law makers who had raised the issues by Indian officials saying that every society had got certain problems and even pointed out some of the recent developments inside the U.S itself. Modi while addressing the joint session of congress said “India lives as one India, grows as one India, celebrates as one India”, PM said probably to convey to the US government’s responses to the critiques of intolerance and lack of religious freedom. For any government the constitution is the holy book, 1.25 billion Indians have freedom from fear, every moment of their lives.”
At the end of his rousing speech to the US congress Modi quoted Walt Whitmen -the American poet to indicate that there was ‘new symphony’ in play between India and the US. Defense ties have been consolidated in 3 ways ; in defense procurement from the US as well as co-development projects which are worth over $ 14 billion, in co-ordination, cooperation and sharing of information between the two defense forces and increasingly on the idea of working together on operation on piracy, peace keeping and patrolling. In recognition, during Modi’s visit the US declared India ‘a major defense partner’ a designation specially created to describe this new relationship and one that is just short of a military alliance. In 2005 Manmahon singh told the US congress of how “India’s growth and prosperity is US’s interest”. Mr. Modi took the theme forward by saying” A stronger and prosperous India is in America’s strategic interest”. Mr.Modi’s statement that a strong US partnership will “ensure the security of the sea lanes of commerce and freedom of navigation on seas”, all the way from Asia to Africa and from the Indian ocean to Pacific will be read by Beijing with a concern. India should either reassure china or be prepared for a countermove from the Beijing on this count. Modi seemed to suggest that India has firmly put its cold war compacts behind when he said the India-US relationship has overcome the hesitation of history.
He called for deepening the US-India security corporation to tackle global terrorism based on a policy that ‘delinks religion from terrorism’. He further said “our neighborhood incubates terrorism must be isolated”. The themes of address were balanced between the extolling the familiar credo of shared democratic values mixed with using India’s growth engine for the good of America and the world. In short, there was no surprise, although he was wise to talk in his trademark Indian English with a sing song intonation rather than resort to Hindi seeking to bond with American’s legislators.
America is pushing hard for India’s entry into NSG group. In this regard US secretary of state John Kerry sent out a letter to NSG members appealing for support to India,” India has shown strong support for the objectives of the NSG and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and is a likeminded state deserving of NSG admission.” India’s biggest concern from the 48 nation comes from china, that argues that NSG members must be signatories to the non-proliferation treaty which India believes discriminatory. The NSG is crucial for the inflow of high technology in order to jump start with make-in-India project. In such a situation India has no option but to extend an olive branch to both Pakistan and china.
The recent visit of Modi to America and his address to joint session of congress of that country has put Pakistan on tenterhooks and is ever feeling restlessness. In the senate of Pakistan, the senators also expressed their concern over India’s growing relations with Afghanistan, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Suadi Arabia and Qatar. The chairman of the Senate Defense committee drew the attention of the house towards the ‘growing collusion between India and the US’.  Aziz has even gone to the extent of saying that Pakistan was in a possession of a robust nuclear deterrent system for India, such utterances depict sheer Pakistan’s desperation. Pakistan is even planning to prepare new ‘terms of engagement with the US’, and moving a resolution in the UN General Assembling Seeking to declare the Indian Ocean as nuclear free zone. Aziz said Pakistan was lobbying effectively and proactively in all the member countries of the NSG for not giving India an entry into NSG.
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