Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets the USA President Barack Obama in Oval Office, at White House in Washington DC, USA on June 7, 2016. (Photo: IANS/PIB)
WASHINGTON: Call it President Barack Obama's desire to seal his legacy or the Trump
effect, as some pundits would have it, he and Prime Minister Narendra
Modi celebrated his fourth visit to the US in two years with a flurry of
agreements, including one in which the US commits itself to sharing
defence technology with India "to a level commensurate with that of its
closest allies and partners".
These ranged from climate change to the vexed civil nuclear deal to US
of India as a major defence partner to a call on Pakistan to bring the
perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to
Marking a big upswing in India-US relations in the last
two years, the upshot of Modi's tete-a -tete with "my friend Barack"
at the White House Tuesday was that the "good story continues" in the
words of Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar.
Some icing on the cake
came ahead of the third major Modi-Obama summit with reports that none
of the 34 current members of the Missile Technology Control Regime
(MTCR) had objected to India's entry to the exclusive club by Monday's
Jaishankar would not go beyond saying that India had
indeed applied for entry into MTCR, but the joint statement noted "the
leaders looked forward to India's imminent entry" into the club.
is not a member of MTCR, but it is standing in the way of India's entry
into another exclusive club, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), at the
behest of Pakistan.
And though the membership of the two clubs is
not directly linked, if India was found good for entry into one
non-proliferation regime, it should be good for the other too,
Fresh from garnering support for India's
membership of NSG from Switzerland ahead of a meeting of the Group later
this month, Modi thanked Obama for backing New Delhi's bid for both the
MTCR and NSG clubs.
On climate change, the joint statement said
"both countries are committed to working together and with others" for
the ratification and full implementation of the Paris Agreement "as
early as possible."
US officials suggested that like the US,
India had agreed to join the Paris agreement "this year." But the Indian
side stuck to the formulation in the joint statement saying, "India
similarly has begun its processes to work toward this shared objective."
New York Times suggested that would-be Republican nominee "Donald J.
Trump can claim at least some of the credit" for the Modi-Obama
understanding on the Paris climate agreement.
Since Trump has
vowed to "cancel" the Paris agreement if elected, Obama is working hard
to ensure that it becomes binding before he leaves office next January.
the accord enters into legal force with at least 55 countries
representing 55 percent of global emissions formally joining, no nation
can legally withdraw for four years, it said.
On his part, "Modi
wants to get as much as he can out of Obama's last months in office,"
the Times cited Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, as saying.
that India will buy six nuclear reactors from Westinghouse by June 2017
under the stalled India-US civil nuclear deal signed in 2005 also
removes another irritant in India-US relations.
recognition of India as a Major Defence Partner to facilitate
"technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its
closest allies and partners" marked another milestone in the growing
US-India defence relationship.
The understanding would give India
"license-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in
conjunction with steps that India has committed to take to advance its
export control objectives.
But another important dimension of
Modi's June 6-8 visit would unfold Wednesday with an address to a joint
meeting of the US Congress eleven years after Washington revoked his
visa under a law passed by that very body.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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