It’s almost two years in the White House of Barack Hussein Obama and in three days time he will be in India. While the red carpet welcome is on the expected lines giving him a lowdown into ‘Incredible India’ from exotic locales to culinary delights piqued to his senses, his visit should be used to strengthen trade and strategic alliance. But it’s time we ask him the right questions on some of the contentious issues and get a cogent stand of America.
Warren Anderson’s extradition:
Four months back this was the hot topic on the table when the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict came out in June; many media houses went into overdrive demanding the extradition of Warren Anderson and even asked the government to feature this in talks with Obama when he visits in November. But, as evident now, four months is a very long time in the world of news and political landscape.
But a corollary for the above is the Nuclear Liability Bill. American firms have mentioned their displeasure to the tweaked version of the bill and are bent on its original version. In the wake of the Bhopal case and its aftermath, with such a blatant travesty on legal and economic liabilities of the guilty, it’s but natural that the path be tread cautiously and suppliers be under the purview of jurisdiction and, more than that, economic cap be discussed if, God forbid, a nuclear accident takes place.
Always been a fan or, many would say, envious of India’s prowess in the IT sector, Obama’s recent target has been the outsourcing of jobs to India. Hit hard by the recession and still having its after effects, the U.S economy is struggling. In that context tax break to the firms who employ at home is understandable but a ban in toto isn’t justified especially in this day and age where economy is globalised and free trade is the principle in effect. Also it gives a sense of hypocrisy on part of America where it wants to deal with India but on a one way street.
Comes third in the list, simply because the trip of Obama should be used in strengthening bilateral ties, but is the most important and needs to be on top of the agenda. It’s our unstable neighbour Pakistan who clamours for attention on the world stage demanding America’s involvement in many of our bilateral (India-Pakistan) outstanding issues. There must be no ambiguity by India on the points related to Pakistan and a hard evidence comprising of facts/reports/documents be put on table clearly indicating Pakistan’s state aiding terrorism not just on India but on the west as well. Rhetoric of America aside – on allies in fighting global terror – their actions is a non sequitur.
Their compulsions in Afghanistan and, therefore projecting Pakistan as allies, is understandable but it’s India which is bearing the brunt of terrorism sponsored by Pakistan which is overlooked by America. In that regard not disseminating information at the right time to India on David Headley is something which demands answers and their recent announcement of $2 billion aid sans the accountability is something which doesn’t augur well for India.
Post recession the landscape of powers and the equations which govern these powers have shifted a little. While U.S and Europe are the superpowers but their foundations have shaken a bit. This has brought India and China to the centre stage of dynamics and rather than waiting for the west’s acknowledgement, it’s up to India how it sees the partnership with these superpowers and, if not dictating the terms, at least there be an equal stake in the partnership.