The Indian-American community is hopeful that US President Barack Obama’s visit to India within three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US trip will help make “substantial progress” in the bilateral relations between the countries.
Sanjay Puri, chairman of USINPAC, a political advocacy group in the US, said, “The US ‘wish-list’ includes getting India to agree to sign on climate change pact much on the lines of what the US did with China; having India live up to its promise on the civil nuclear agreement, safeguarding American business interests on IPR.”
Puri added, “As far as the intractable positions taken by both sides on the nuclear liability issue goes, it will depend largely on the personal thrust of both Modi and Obama and how much political capital they are willing to put into it; on the lines of what Manmohan Singh and George Bush did to push through the nuke deal. For both, the nuclear deal went onto become their legacy.”
Asserting that the Indian-American identity in the US gets “impacted” by the economic, political and cultural developments back in India, Puri says the community had worked hard on lobbying for the civilian nuclear deal, as they have been doing of late on the H1B visa issue.
Crediting Modi with ‘re-energizing’ Indo-US relations that had been stagnating for the last five years, he attributes it to both Indian and American sides, while UPA II had been busy firefighting on the domestic front, the Obama administration was pre-occupied with external issues. “The relationship basically stagnated”.
Puri says, “The first takeaway of the visit even before Obama lands is the message that Obama cares about India and is undertaking his second visit here, reversing the earlier perception.” Ofcourse, that first meeting coming in the backdrop of the US refusal of visa to Modi, was crucial in that the two leaders built a rapport that signalled a new start. Now the second meeting which will even see a joint radio address of both leaders, says Puri is the time to consolidate the gains.