By Ridhima Aneja
Edited by Madhavi Roy, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has walked miles ahead of the time when speculation was rife that he would hold a grudge against the U.S. for revoking his tourist visa for nine years. The surprise came after Modi’s visit to the Unites States- the much-hyped invite to Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, for the Republic Day celebrations on the 26th of January, 2015. With this gesture, Modi has given the indication that India is now going to align its foreign ties towards the United States.
Besides being the first American leader to be received as the guest of honour at the Republic Day Celebrations, he is also the first U.S. President to visit the country twice while in office. The invitation is not only an invitation to the U.S. President to celebrate the creation of the world’s largest democracy, but also an invitation to the U.S to invest, and help accelerate Indian GDP growth and create employment. The acceptance of the invitation is testament to the fact that both Mr. Modi and Mr. Obama are committing to reviving ties between the two countries.
The invitation is a reason to rejoice for the two countries and a source of concern for China, as it directs the Chinese to subdue and deter from any potential border aggression. The recent development in the Arun Jaitley led Finance and Economic sector with the Goods and Service tax and increasing FDI caps in various sectors also allows more U.S. investment.
A strong India is on the cards– U.S. ties promise a stable balance of power in the Asia Pacific region. After Pakistan’s non-cooperation with regards to controlling terrorism, the United States’ decision to align towards India is best for both the countries, provided this tie is revived and doesn’t fizzle out after the Republic Day celebrations. The U.S. and India counterterrorism cooperation has never been more determined, due the workings of the Al- Qaeda and Pakistan’s Jamaat- ul – Dawa. The strikes on Kashmir, the Peshawar attack , the NATO drawdown in Afghanistan, they all make it the need of the hour for these two countries to strategically tie up together and make sure that the United States is not inconsistent with it its foreign policies and sticks to its support towards India after its failure to pressurize Pakistan .
No doubt, the counterterrorism cooperation is a step in the right direction, but it is a pre-requisite that the two countries must follow through on this effort and not merely speak of a strategic association.
Another area where India can seek help from the United States is in the development of the Defence sector of India. The United States has actively promised to help the Indian militia in its development – the Air Force, the Navy and the Army.
This bold invitation has signalled to the entire world and the country too, that the Nehruvian era is long gone, and India will now end its foreign policy of non-alignment and take a bold stand on the global map of diplomacy and revered ties between countries.
What is required is patience, perseverance, moderation and stark intelligence in maintaining ties with the United States, but for now the world awaits the arrival of the 21st century’s most strategic association, as the message by the two leaders regarding their mutual cooperation and friendship has been long sent.
India now prepares itself to welcome, with all its might and fervour, the U.S. President to the world’s most theatrical parade. India and the United States are bracing themselves for one of their biggest challenges when the two most powerful people of the world share the dais on the 26th of January, 2015. While Obama receives twenty threats a day, from agencies like the ISIS, Lashkar-e Taiba, Al- Qaida; Modi receives ten calls a day.
The stage is set for the 26th of January, 2015. Lat the whirlwind of events begin.
Ridhima Aneja is a third year student pursuing B.COM (Hons.) from Sri Venkateswara College, University Of Delhi. She has an eye for perfection and detail and is a girl who never settles for mediocrity. Being an optimist and a work enthusiast, she aims to become habitual to achieving her goals and aspirations even while facing complexities in both professional and personal fronts. An aspiring diplomat and lawyer, blessed with a dauntless personality, she enjoys corporate law but her true interest lies in India’s relations with other countries, especially Pakistan and working for women rights. She aims to be a catalyst in making every Indian household a violence free home. She identifies herself with being a part of an emerging world community and become integral enough that her actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices. A girl who is strictly driven by her passions, she is also a national level debater , a skilled dramatist and a self proclaimed dancer .