What Obama presidency means
Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) With Democrat Barack Obama winning the
White House, India is hopeful that its multi-faceted ties
with the US, revolutionised by a landmark nuclear deal during
the Bush tenure, will acquire new force.
real strategic partnership between India and the US will begin
with a new government in Washington and New Delhi next year,"
Lalit Mansingh, former ambassador of India to the US, told
IANS soon after it became clear that Obama had rewritten American
history by becoming the first African American to win the
and investment, defence and agriculture - all those areas
which were sidetracked by nuclear deal would now come to the
fore, said Mansingh.
should celebrate change in the political structure of the
US. Obama's presidency begins a new chapter in America's political
history, a new chapter in America's engagement with the world
and a great opportunity for India to combat terrorism in its
region," said Chintamani Mahapatra, professor of American
studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
visualise a very bright future for India-US relations. He
would be the first Democratic president in the White House
after Bill Clinton who began the path-breaking turnaround
in India-US ties during his visit to India in 2000. He will
build upon that legacy," Mahapatra told IANS.
than a fortnight ago, the 47-year-old Obama had promised in
an exclusive interview to IANS to make strong strategic partnership
with India a "top priority" of his presidency and
described New Delhi as "a natural strategic partner"
for Washington in the 21st century. Obama, who liked to keep
Mahatma Gandhi's portrait in his Senate office, is also known
among Indian Americans for his fondness for Indian dal.
and diplomats see Obama's promise to restore America's moral
standing in the world, especially in the Muslim world, that
was damaged by military intervention in Iraq and his more
nuanced policy on combating terrorism working to the advantage
of India in the region. This will deflect some of the hostility
the US attracts among India's 140 million Muslims.
was more muscular in his approach to what he called the Global
War on Terror. Obama is likely to broaden the alliance against
terror and use a combination of diplomacy and force that may
be better suited for India's interests in the region,"
Mansingh: "Obama believes in exercising smart power.
Obama will be less inclined to use military force."
94-page Democratic Party document entitled "Renewing
America's Promise" adopted at its convention in Denver
eschews using the phrase "Global War on Terror"
and focuses on ending the war in Iraq, stablising Afghanistan
and "combating violent extremism".
has, in fact, accused Pakistan of misusing funds for the war
against terror and allegedly using it to fund militancy against
India - remarks which were hailed in India's diplomatic and
the global financial crisis affecting emerging economies like
India, Obama's advocacy of a stricter oversight on the financial
institutions and greater state interventionism also inspires
greater confidence in this country, said Mahapatra.
all are so enthusiastic about the Obama presidency in India
though. The diplomatic establishment and strategic circles
are treading cautiously, especially after Obama's recent remarks
on Kashmir, which they see as a throwback to American postures
10 years ago.
an interview to MSNBC last week, Obama had said: "We
should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between
Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so
that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation
with those militants."
is ill-advised and outdated and reflects his advisers have
not kept up with the times," said Arundhati Ghose, a
former Indian diplomat who represented India in the UN, while
advising a wait and watch policy towards the Obama administration.
Subrahmanyam, however, counseled that India should not overreact.
"Obama is a flexible intellectual. Let's wait and watch".
issue that is causing concern in India is Obama's incentives
to American companies who don't outsource jobs. "This
is certainly going to affect us if Obama's policies turn protectionist.
Given the financial meltdown, there is a greater likelihood
of protectionism," Ghosh told IANS.
also sees a potential pitfall in Obama's strong views on non-proliferation
and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. "India will be under
enormous pressure to sign the CTBT," pointed out Mansingh.
Ghose, however, thinks India need not worry much on this count
as the nuclear deal has been sealed and New Delhi will not
mind coming on board after the US and China does so.