BJP National General Secretary and former RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav today described the “buddy buddy” relationship and “bonhomie” between US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as being vital to the “positive” turn that India –US relations have taken of late – a far cry from the “strained relations” during the Nehru and Indira Gandhi era.
He emphasised that the “personal equation” between Modi and Obama defined this second visit. Madhav urged the US to extend its defence cooperation to not just armaments but to technology transfer as well, “After all its doing this with China, Pakistan as well.”
Speaking at the “India-US Dialogues” organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and Network 18 Madhav reminded his audience, “When President Barack Obama witnesses the Republic Day Parade, he will see a lot of Russia made defence equipments.”
The Americans he stressed would see mutual benefit if there was greater cooperation especially on areas on the economic and business front, on defence feeding into the PM’s “Make In India Campaign” sharing of intelligence in the area of counter terrorism and on the “contentious” issue of climate change.
As for the intractable positions that have been taken by both sides on the nuclear deal so long, Madhav insisted “Pragmatism“ was needed on both sides.
In the subsequent panel discussion on ‘Regional Security Challenges’, Ashok Malik of ORF stated that the ‘Islamist challenge’ has now with the emergence of ISIS, being recognized by the Americans leading to a greater congruence of views of both countries.
Panelist Ronak Desai from Harvard University emphasized the paradigm shift describing Washington’s view has one of “evolution” and its perception that the “Modi government was more realistic than the previous regime.
Rick Rossow from the Center for Strategic and International Studies said that the “next level” of this relationship would logically be “unfettered access” to technology of both countries but while Modi was on a spree to cement relationships with his neigbours in the region, Obama admistration might not have the same view on it.
Nonetheless, C Raja Mohan of the ORF said “While the earlier government (UPA) hesitated in going forward the Modi regime is willing to go forward- he has liberalized FDI in defence to 49 per cent , brought in the private sector and sent out a positive signal to Americans.”