10 Things You Must Know about Obama’s Visit to India as Guest of Honour on Republic Day-2015 [ Current Affairs ]

()

Background of India-US Relationship: International relations that exist between India and US have seen lots of ups and downs in the past. Post-independence, India’s relations with US were cold mainly due to US’s closeness with Pakistan. This relationship in the upcoming years saw a lot of ups and downs till the 21st century. During President Bush’s tenure the relationship between the two countries strengthened mainly due to their common beliefs of the Islamic organizations and climate change. Still at an early stage this relationship has seen a few hindrances too. In 2013 it was leaked that the US was spying against India and a document released by Edward Snowden which was published in The Washington Post that US intelligence agencies had been spying on Mr. Narendra Modi, India’s current Prime Minister. In 2013, the arrest, strip-search and temporary detention of Devyani Khobragade, an Indian diplomat in New York caused an uproar in India and the Indo-US ties took a beating, this was followed by immediate deporting of US diplomats in New-Delhi. It was at a later stage found that these diplomats had posted absurd comments on social media which were highly offensive.

Recently, President of The United States-Mr. Barack Obama’s 2nd visit to the country has improved the ties between the two countries to a great extent. Obama’s 1st visit in 2010 was also deemed to be highly successful in strengthening the bilateral ties. This visit in which Obama was the chief guest for India’s 66th Republic Day celebrations and the first US president to attend our Republic day has taken the Indo-US relationship to a new height in which both the countries were able to overcome long standing obstacles.

President Barack Obama’s India visit was cut short due to the untimely death of Saudi Arabia’s King, so he flew to Saudi Arabia on 27th afternoon itself and thus could not manage to take the scheduled trip to Taj Mahal.

Below is a detailed account of the President’s 3-day visit to India.

25th Jan 2015

On Sunday, President Barack Obama arrived in New Delhi for the highly anticipated 3-day meet in Air Force One. He was warmly greeted by India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi who had come to the airport to welcome the President along with a few ministers including Piyush Goyal and S Jaishankar who is the Indian ambassador to the US. From the Air Force station at Palam where he was given a red carpet welcome he departed for his hotel ITC Maurya where was staying for the term of the visit in his car, a bullet proof limousine which goes by the name of “The Beast” Then the President left for Rashtrapati Bhawan where he was welcomed by PM Modi and President Mukherjee. He receives a 21 gun salute and then inspects the ceremonial inter-services guard of honor led wing commander Pooja Thakur for him. Later The President then leaves for Rajghat to lay wreath and pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. He receives a ‘Charkha’ as a memento and also plants a sapling. In the afternoon the President arrives at the Hyderabad House for a summit meeting with PM Modi, where they have a discussion on a number of topics of national interests including the civil nuclear deal, defense, climate change, boosting of economies etc. It is seen to iron out differences the two leaders take a stroll in the Lotus Garden and hold one on one talks over tea-popularly known as “chai pe charcha” After the talks come to an end the two leaders attend a media conference and announce their vision for both the countries along with various decisions that have been taken during the summit with the biggest being that US has dropped its demand to know about the whereabouts of nuclear material supplied in India and the CIVIL-NUCLEAR deal is successful.

26th Jan 2015

On India’s 66th Republic Day celebration President Obama was the honorable Chief Guest. The parade began at 10: 00 am and was a2 hour affair during which despite of a dampened weather with slight rains everybody attending the parade including Modi and Obama were excited. The president was also highly impressed by the motorcycle stunts performed by Border Security Force (BSF). During the event it was clearly seen that Modi and Obama share a good rapport with each other and as the media termed it-the “Bonhomie” between the leaders was increasing. The President met with and had a conference with the heads of the opposition parties which included Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh. In the evening both Mr. Obama and Mr. Modi attended the Indo-US CEO forum where they interacted with CEO’s from both countries. The President and his wife then attended a program at Rashtrapati Bhawan which was followed by a private banquet dinner in honor of President Obama hosted by the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

27th Jan 2015

On the last day of his visit Obama addressed the Town Hall audience which was of around 2000 people which include students, delegates and also recent Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi who met the President before he came on stage. He was grandly introduced by a Neha Kunj. In his speech he covered all the topics of importance including peace, diversified unity where anyone can have any beliefs and freedom to follow any religion, how he thought that India and US could be one of the leading partnerships of the 21st century and also promised to liberalize visa rights for student wanting to study in US. The President along with his wife left for Saudi Arabia in the afternoon to pay their tribute to the Late King of Saudi Arabia.

Advancements Made

  1. Civil Nuclear Deal: The most successful part of this deal is that the civil nuclear deal which was hanging by a thread over the past few years was passed. Now US companies are free to build nuclear reactors in India. This pact also dissolved differences over US tracking nuclear material supplied in India.
  2. Defense: India is one of the largest importers of defense weapons in the world and now US has agreed to share and supply its defense technology to India. So now India will import from both US and Russia. This Indo-US deal spreads over a span of 10 years.
  3. Economic relation: India which currently holds only a small percentage of USA’s trade business is set to play a bigger role in the upcoming years as Obama pledged 4 billion $in terms of investments and loans to boost India’s economy.
  4. Climate change: Obama promised to invest in India’s solar energy projects in order to control climate change by decreasing the carbon emissions in the country. India has always been reluctant to cut its carbon emissions saying it is a developing country and needs to focus on economic growth despite being the 3rd largest carbon emitter in the world.
  5. Terrorism: There was also a slight hint by President Obama that India could partner with US to fight against terrorism which has highly targeted and affected both the countries.

Author’s Insight: The Author feels that this partnership can really be the defining one of this century. It is a new start for India under PM Narendra Modi which can help our country to eradicate poverty and rise to become one of the leading nations in the world.

Author: Satyajay Jethwa

- Published on: February 19, 2015