As Barack Obama becomes the third US President to visit India in the last decade, C Raja Mohan looks at why the visit is different from previous ones and what to expect. In The Indian Express:
The fact that Obama is the third president to travel to India in the last decade, however, shows how much Washington and Delhi have begun to matter to each other. The ‘wasted decades’—former foreign minister Jaswant Singh’s description of the prolonged period of estrangement between India and the United States during the second half of the twentieth century—are now behind us.
Beyond the new intensity and frequency of bilateral engagement, Obama’s visit underlines one little-understood but fundamental change in the context of the India-US relations.
Until recently, Delhi constantly worried about how the United States, the world’s foremost power, might hurt India. On the eve of President Clinton’s visit to India in March 2000, Delhi was concerned that the United States will ramp up the pressure against India’s nuclear weapons programme. It was also afraid that Clinton will side with Pakistan on the question of Jammu and Kashmir. More:
Obama should visit Tawang monastery
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar in The Times of India:
Visits that are remembered are gamechanging ones, like the George W Bush-Manmohan Singh nuclear summit. Can President Obama make his visit a gamechanging one? Here are two suggestions. First, he must visit the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh. Second, he must declare emphatically and repeatedly that the US will do everything it can to stop China from supplying two new nuclear reactors to Pakistan.
Obama wishes to have good relations with China and Pakistan, not just India. Politics dictates that he will try to be all things to all the countries he visits, and avoid statements and policies that may strengthen relations with one country at the expense of the other. Yet, if the longterm strategic partnership proposed by Bush and supported by Obama has substance, it must include the vision of India as a democratic counter to an economically and militarily powerful China that might throw its weight around aggressively in Asia. Hopefully this will not lead to hostilities, and neither India nor the US should even remotely think of any sort of military pact.
What is needed is a US gesture that will show strategic support for India without totally alienating China or creating the potential for military confrontation. An Obama visit to Tawang will be exactly such a gesture. It will be an effective way of signaling US support to India’s claims in Arunachal Pradesh.
China will of course express outrage, since it claims that Tawang is part of Tibet and hence of its own territory. China even objected to the Dalai Lama visiting Tawang. More: