Flashback 2014: Indo-US ties back on track, to get major boost by Obama visit

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Washington, Dec 28: Indo-US relations were back on track in 2014 after overcoming major hiccups and bilateral ties are set for a big boost with President Barack Obama slated to make a historic second visit to India next month.

As the year 2014 comes to an end, the strains in India-US relationship have almost disappeared. Exactly a year ago, the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York had threatened to derail the ties along with the anti-India campaign launched by the influential US corporate sector.

US President Barack Obama

The relationship –- for which successive governments in the two countries had worked hard for over a decade –- had come to a standstill in the first half of the year.

In fact, months leading to the May general elections also played a part as the Obama Administration thought it was better to wait and deal with the new leadership.

The outgoing government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was reluctant in taking any decision on even important issues related to bilateral ties.

The first five months of the year could be characterised as stalemate in bilateral ties but collaboration moved at a fast pace ever since Narendra Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister on May 26. Even before the swearing-in took place, Obama telephoned Modi to congratulate him on unprecedented electoral victory.

While the White House statement of this maiden tele-conversation did not say much, the subsequent events reflected that it set the tone and pace for the India-US relationship.

In the first 100 days of the new Indian government, Obama sent three of his top Cabinet Ministers –- John Kerry (Secretary of State), Chuck Hagel (Defense Secretary) and Penny Pritzker (Commerce Secretary) –- to India. The annual India-US Strategic Dialogue was held in New Delhi instead of Washington as a goodwill gesture for the new government.

The mood about India in Washington suddenly changed with the new government. Meetings with Modi by top officials of the Obama Administration reflected that the Prime Minister was focused on India's development and taking Indo-US ties to a new level as he considers it as a win-win for both the countries.

Gauging that the Prime Minister was personally leading efforts to normalise Indo-US ties, Obama invited Modi to the White House immediately after the UN General Assembly session in New York.

The maiden meeting between the two leaders at the White House on September 30 helped establish a personal relationship between Obama and Modi –- the two most popular political leaders on the social media.

PTI

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