Modi's US visit bears strategic, economic significance

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Expectations are high with Modi’s visit to Washington
Extending a formal invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a visit to the US, President Barack Obama has expressed keenness to work closely with him to make the bilateral relations a "defining partnership" in the 21st century.

Obama's message was conveyed in a official letter handed over to Modi by deputy secretary of state William Burns when he called on him here. Modi, too on his part, has accepted the invitation.

Ever since Modi became Prime Minister, there was expectation of seeing a paradigm shift in the ties between the two countries, which had strained relations over the last few years. The United States took no time in extending an invitation to Modi after he became Prime Minister. This anticipated shift could possibly be due to Modi's engagement with other countries.

Expectations are high with Modi's visit to Washington. His visit in September is being seen as a move to improve bilateral ties, which saw rough days after the diplomatic row concerning Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

Issues on cards:

According to a FICCI report, this visit should be utilised as an opportunity to discuss issues concerning India's pharmaceutical industry, immigration reforms, downgrading of Indian safety ranking in aviation and other industrial policy related concerns. The proposed US immigration reforms, aimed at discouraging dependency on skilled non-immigrant workers to safeguard American jobs, can weaken the mutually beneficial partnership between India's $118 billion IT services industry and its clients in the US, according to a study by a Delhi-based economic think-tank.

A study by JP Morgan (June 2013) suggests that the Bill, if passed in its current form, would cause a direct loss of $2.6 billion to India's IT sector and about $6 billion, or 0.4 per cent of India's GDP, in indirect losses in terms of possible job losses and loss to business in IT-related services.

28 US-India dialogues will see a new light:

According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the US and India have 28 dialogues. These dialogues, most of which were initiated during the 10-year term of the UPA Government, need to be redefined. The prominent dialogues will cover various sectors, including India-US strategic, energy, CEO Forum, Trade Policy Forum, Information & Communications Technology Working Group, Higher Education Dialogue, Cyber Security Consultations, Strategic Cyber Policy Dialogue, Home Security Dialogue, Strategic Security Dialogue, Women's Empowerment Dialogue, Economic & Financial Partnership, Aviation Summit and Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation among several others.

The development policy will help India and the US as it will provide a platform for generating innovative approaches to development through a bipartisan policy agenda. The Trade Policy Forum, Information & Communications Technology Working Group will help examining both short- and long-term strategies and trends to offer insight on global energy markets.

US is India's largest investment partner, with a direct investment of billion

Two more agreements which are of vital importance include Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation and Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) which will simplify the sharing of defence facilities such as Air Force refuelling bases. India is of strategic importance for the US because of its geo-political placement as well as it can help them by taming China at a greater level in Indian Sub-Continent.

Countering terrorism together:

Both the oldest and largest democracies of the world are victim of terrorism. India can help US its policy on terrorism. They can share vital information and thereby analyze the threat of terrorism.

Nuclear policy is another issue where both the countries can have a dialogue by investigating a wide range of nuclear issues. 

Modi's track record as a policy-maker suggests that he can bring in paradigm shift and bilateral ties will surely get a boost under his leadership. It is sure whatever be the results, they will be positive and could also be path-breaking to some extent.

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