President Barack Obama works on his "big part of my plans" for
India in his second term, an influential US think tank has made
four concrete proposals to advance their shared priorities,
including pitching for a second presidential visit to India.
There is a growing consensus in Washington and New Delhi that the
most fruitful areas to deepen the US-India partnership reside in
economic and trade relations, security and defence ties, and
collaboration on regional challenges, according to the Centre for
Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).
With this in mind, it has proposed the establishment of a detailed
"New Framework for US-India Economic Cooperation;" the launching
of a US-India Job Creation and Skills Building initiative; the
signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on defence
coproduction; and the pursuit of a six-power regional initiative
In a piece entitled, "Obama's Second Term: 'India is a big part of
my plans,'" Karl F. Inderfurth, Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy
Studies at CSIS, has suggested that one other part of Obama's
second term "plans" should be a second visit to India.
I would be "an opportunity to build on his successful visit of
November 2010 and to mark a historic first in US-India relations:
the first time an American president has travelled to India twice
while in office," he wrote in the January issue of US-India
Insight, a CSIS newsletter.
Inderfurth, a former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian
Affairs, noted that throughout the past year, high-ranking US
administration officials continued to use superlatives to describe
the relationship they envisioned for the United States and India.
Most recently, Obama himself told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at
the East Asia Summit in Cambodia: "India is a big part of my
plans" for his second term, he recalled.
Inderfurth also noted that the US National Intelligence Council in
its latest long-range global forecast had predicted that "In 2030
India could be the rising economic powerhouse that China is seen
to be today."
But as the NIC report and other publications point out, for India
to maximize its advantages, it will have to address three major
challenges - education, corruption, and infrastructure.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)