News Analysis: Obama might lose something else after winning applause at Indian Parliament

08:59, November 10, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama wound up his three-day visit to India on Tuesday, during which he met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress party chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other Indian leaders. The two countries also issues a joint communiqu stressing the strengthening of bilateral relations.

Local analysts think while the purpose of Obama's visit is to tighten U.S.-Indian relations and raise the U.S. influence in Asia, the U.S. president might lose something at the same time.


Although the Indian government and media have been anticipating Obama's visit for a long time, they kept until the very end of the visit a cautious and conservative attitude toward what this visit could bring about. Before Obama came, local media warned India should not expect too much from this visit, because of the close military collaboration between the U.S. and Pakistan in Afghanistan. However, Obama brought "rich gifts" this time.

During the visit, Obama and Singh held formal talks and issued joint communiqu, saying the two nations will strengthen strategic partnership. Obama also addressed the Indian Parliament,declaring for the first time that Washington backs India's bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations, and asking Pakistan to get rid of "safe havens of terror" on its territory. The U.S. also unilaterally decided to ease restrictions on high-tech exports to India. Besides, the two countries announced 10 billion U.S. dollars of business deals, mostly being India's purchase of U.S. military and civilian aircraft.

Local media said that India has gained a lot from Obama's visit, first of all from his positive endorsement of India's bid for UN Security Council permanent member seat. Meanwhile, India will realize its dream of getting access to sophisticated U.S. technologies in armament and nuclear energy. The U.S. and India will also build a nuclear technology center in northern India's Hariyana state. The U.S. also promised to help India enter the Nuclear Supply Group.


While it should be stated that the number of gifts Obama brought to India was many, this has failed to delight all Indians. Although Obama won the joy of some Indians for his speech, criticizing voices can also be heard immediately.

The left-wing Communist Party of India (Marxist), which had boycotted visiting U.S. presidents' address to Parliament in the past, this time reluctantly attended the session. Its political bureau member Sitaram Yechury said although Obama spoke on a range of issues "but there is nothing tangible".

Communist Party of India (CPI) national secretary D. Raja said the U.S president in his address to Indian parliamentarians was " pursuing the known US positions and protecting the interests of his country". CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta was critical of the U.S. for overlooking the state of "suffering and poverty in the world because of the U.S. policies", as basic rights like food and education are essential for international cooperation.

Meanwhile, Indian media believe always economic elements occupied a greater part of the agenda of Obama's India visit, proof being that he told the media in Mumbai that the 10 billion dollar deals would create 50,000 jobs back in the U.S..

During Obama's visit, hundreds of victims and their families in the 1984 Bhopal industrial disaster demonstrated in the capital, demanding compensations for the huge tragedy caused by the U.S. Union Carbide company.


While wooing India, Obama triggered discontent from Pakistan, which promptly protested against his statement about Pakistan at the Indian Parliament and his endorsement of Indian bid for UN Security Council seat.

Pakistan Foreign Office said Islamabad hopes the U.S. "will take a moral view and not base itself on any temporary expediencies or exigencies of power politics." It also called on Washington not to ignore "continued flagrant violation" of UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir by New Delhi.

Analysts also believe that a quickening process of closing rank with the U.S. by India could cause vigilance and discontent from Russia, India's traditional ally and arms supplier.

Russia has huge nuclear and military technological investment in India, which for a long time relies on Moscow for weapons and arms technologies. Although the two countries have scrapped their de facto alliance after the Cold War, Russia still regards South Asia as a region of geographically great importance for itself.

The U.S. and its NATO allies are currently stuck in a lingering war in Afghanistan. Some Indian analysts think the U.S. night " encourage" India to join the Afghan affairs and even invite Indian to send troops there. However, India lacks both capabilities and willingness to send troops to the country which has become a quagmire for the Western troops. Any U.S. attempt in this regard will definitely fail.

Lastly, Obama also played ideological card during the visit. In his address to Indian Parliament, he emphasized the key role " democratic system" plays in promoting U.S.-Indian relations and finger-pointed Myanmar as a "dictatorship".

Analysts think that India and Myanmar are intimate neighbors and it is very important for the two countries to carry out cooperation to maintain regional peace and calmness. The U.S. attempt to use ideology to divide the two historically and geographically attached neighbors could lead to opposite results to its original purpose.

Observers believe that due to the complicated situation in South Asia, Obama might lose something else after winning applauses at the Indian Parliament.

Source: Xinhua


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