Swaminathan S A Aiyar writes (with huge speculations!):
- During his visit to India, Obama will doubtless say several encouraging things. He will hail India as a coming superpower, and say that it is a good idea for India to become a member of the UN Security Council. He will declare that Islamic terrorism must end in Kashmir and Afghanistan. He will hail India’s democratic values.
- He will talk of easing some US export controls on dual-use technology and equipment. He will talk of increased cooperation in fields like energy, education agriculture and so on. This is fine as far as it goes, but cannot obscure the diminution of India on the US radar screen. It is not that Obama has abandoned the long-term strategic interest in India that Bush initiated. Rather, Obama is focusing on urgent short-term issues and not on the strategic long-term.
- This will not impact the booming Indo-US economic partnership. This has boomed for four decades thanks to corporate decisions, not government decisions. Besides, individual Indians have flocked to the US for studies and citizenship in huge numbers. They have won several Nobel Prizes, helped create Silicon Valley, and are now prominent in every political and economic field.
- Being driven by individuals and corporations, this aspect of the relationship will strengthen regardless of Obama’s current concerns. It will stand both countries in good stead when, in due course, the relationship truly assumes strategic importance.