As the race to the White House enters its final day, attention gets re-focused on polls that have tightened and predict a very close race. An ABC/ Washington Post poll on November 1 gave Trump a 1% lead over Clinton and an 8-point lead over her on the issue of trustworthiness. But on November 6, the last POLITICO/Morning Consult poll before the November 8 election has given Hillary Clinton a very slender lead of 45% to Trump’s 42%.
As the Obama administration enters its last months in office, it is normal that it would want to assess the state of relations between the United States and India. Both countries have invested a lot in revitalizing this partnership and the US would naturally examine the “broad arch and trajectory” of this relationship, areas that have seen significant advancement and consolidation over the last two years, and also take stock of those issues where progress has not been as desired.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama met in Paris on the sidelines of the crucial climate change conference, it was their sixth bilateral meeting in a little over one year, a very impressive tally by any reckoning.
The year 2015 is expected to be a turning point in the evolving strategic and economic relationship between the United States and Vietnam. While assertive behaviour of China in South China Sea can said to be one of the motivations behind US and Vietnam coming closer, there are other very valid reasons and logic for both to forge stronger ties.
The hype over the nuclear deal has obscured the main achievement of the Obama visit: this is in the Joint Strategic Vision Statement for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, to give the full name of the separate document issued by the two leaders. This is not to gainsay the importance of civil nuclear cooperation, or the understandings reached on defence and economic cooperation.
India needs to proceed with utmost caution on its civil nuclear deal with the United States.
The pathbreaking agreement, dramatically ‘operationalised’ in a 25 January meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi by U.S. President Barack Obama during his three-day state visit to India, has raised high expectations in both countries and elevated their partnership to a new dimension. However, the advancements made by India in the atomic energy sector compel the question whether the country needs to be buttonholed into such an arrangement.
Apart from all the other seminal outcomes of the visit of the US President Barack Obama to New Delhi, the complete absence of any reference to Pakistan is quite remarkable. Although Pakistan was never really mentioned by name in any of the previous declarations and joint statements between India and US, it was always an issue that rankled with India and invariably became a cause for grouse with the Americans. But now both countries seem to have transcended this issue in taking their bilateral relationship to a new level.
India’s relations with the US in the last decade have undergone a transformation. Ever since our independence, our relationship with the US has been marked by suspicion, lack of empathy and differences in world view. In recent years, many in India have viewed with cynicism US using the excuse of its “values” to justify its interventionist and regime change policies marked by, what is more, glaring double standards. We have been chary of excessive engagement with the US lest it acquires too many leverages over our policies.
The upcoming visit of President Obama as Guest of Honour for Republic Day 2015 is an occasion for stock-taking, and for laying the foundation for a more stable and productive relationship. This will be the first time that a US President will be visiting India for a second time. It reflects a willingness to engage substantively with India, and we must use this opportunity to define the parameters for the future development of the relationship.
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