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Modi in US

Modi in US
Highlights

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is again in the United States.  Modi first visited US in September 2014. Two years later, Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Washington is obviously aimed at further consolidating the Indo-US ties that have grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. The confluence of the world’s largest and the oldest democracy is not a mere a cliché.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is again in the United States. Modi first visited US in September 2014. Two years later, Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Washington is obviously aimed at further consolidating the Indo-US ties that have grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. The confluence of the world’s largest and the oldest democracy is not a mere a cliché.

High on the agenda is the India’s quest for a membership in the high profile Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is essential to come out of the nuclear isolation the country has suffered for decades. The NSG is a 48-nation group that controls international nuclear commerce including fuel and technology.

India badly needs Washington’s support to silence the critics of India’s inclusion in the NSG. Membership of NSG should have been the logical culmination of Indo-US nuclear deal that recognised New Delhi as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology. Some countries including China have been opposing India’s entry into this premier nuclear club on the ground that it has rejected the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But, such members of NSG should realise that the India specific recognition has been bestowed on it precisely because it refused to accede to NPT. Opposing NPT is only a principled position of India not to accept discriminatory nuclear order. It never displayed any intentions for proliferation or weaponisation of indigenously acquired nuclear technology.

India expects US lobbying for its NSG membership. Modi is right in taking it up with Obama administration with which he has greater familiarity rather than to deal with the new dispensation. The FDI inflows have touched record levels under Narendra Modi. The uninterrupted economic diplomacy is certainly high on the agenda in this trip too. He would be addressing the US business leaders in a further bid to woo American investment.

However, India should be wary of US intentions while holding defence talks with US. The United States is pushing for more military exports to India. Modi government has already expressed its willingness to sign a logistics support agreement with United States. This deal would facilitate US access to India’s military bases for replenishment and repair.

Such a deal that is likely to be realised during this visit may raise serious concerns back home. Given the US strategic embedment with Pakistan, any intrusive access to Washington can have a deleterious effect on India’s security. The United States is insisting on greater bilateral military engagement in Asia-Pacific including joint patrolling. Such a move will not be welcomed by our giant neighbour China giving rise to fresh concerns in the region.

India’s proximity with US led military alliance may jeopardise our strategic autonomy. Fostering military cooperation with Washington is rather indispensable for India in the post cold war era, but New Delhi has to establish its own limits to such an engagement in its own interests. The size of the Indian economy obviously allures US. Modi should leverage upon it for a better bargain with White House.

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