Modi to cement bond with US, but at a price
06 Jun 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin a three-day visit to the United States today as he works to forge closer strategic ties with the US and secure its economy, but the cost of these will put a heavy burden on the Indian economy.
Modi will have to strike a fine balance between countering China's rising power in Asia and cementing economic ties between India and the United States during his three-day stay in the country that begins today.
Modi will address Congress during the three-day visit, which comes just months before President Barack Obama leaves office.
Obama will take credit for helping to bring about a gradual change in India's role in the world as one of his major achievements, a senior administration official said.
Modi's White House meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, is a ''consolidation visit,'' after two years of brisk diplomacy between the countries and deepening relations between the two leaders, according to India's foreign ministry.
While Modi's trip furthers one of Obama's foreign-policy efforts by cultivating New Delhi as part of the US's Asian pivot, Modi will have to pay a higher price by way of concessions on trade policy.
Since Obama feted Modi's predecessor Manmohan Singh with a state dinner, in 2009, a continuing US focus on India has drawn much attention the world over. Obama has succeeded in bringing about a shift, although gradual, in India's role in the world, and this is seen as one of his major achievements.
The two countries agreed in April to facilitate their armed forces' use of each other's bases for replenishment and repair - a deal that could be completed during Modi's visit.
They are also in talks to co-produce advanced military hardware in India. The two countries also released a ''joint strategic vision'' last year agreeing to ensure freedom of navigation, ''especially in the South China Sea,'' in a message to Beijing.
However the economic cost of the deepening ties would be felt more deeply in India's economy – its industry and agriculture – and these will have longer repercussions.