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Obama, Modi Brings Vigour to India-US Ties: Experts

US President Barack Obama’s ‘unprecedented’ visit to India is a powerful symbol of the new energy that he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have brought to India-US relations and the American leader will see a new India that feels much more confident about its role as a rising power, analysts have said.

Council on Foreign Relations’ senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia Alyssa Ayres said that Modi is demonstrating willingness to break some of the older “truisms about wanting to have equal ties with all great powers”.

“Modi doesn’t have any of the hang-ups that previous predecessors might have had about what will it mean if he appears too close, or appears to be leaning too far in the  direction of the United States. He just simply doesn’t care.

“He seems to think that the United States is a country that’s going to be supportive for the economic transformation that he wants to deliver to Indian citizens. And he’ll be able to develop close ties with the US,” Ayres said in a media call on Obama’s trip to India.

She added that unlike the previous UPA regime, the new Indian government is looking at economic growth as the single most important vehicle through which India can eradicate poverty.

“Modi has spoken about not wanting to merely alleviate poverty, but rather to eradicate poverty. So that’s kind of driving what you see happening – government policies focused on creating a new manufacturing sector.

“So for the president landing in India now, he’s going to see a country that’s right now infused with confidence about where they are in the world.

“India feels much more confident about its role as a rising power – what it can do on the world stage, how its economy can continue to grow, the kinds of innovations India has been heralded for making, particularly in what’s called frugal innovation. All of that is part of this sort of new India that we see growing.

“The president is going to have a good opportunity to see lots of new and different things since he was last there,” Ayres said.

She said bilateral conversations between the leaders could focus on clean energy and climate change, civil nuclear cooperation, defence and economic ties.

Marshall Bouton, Senior Fellow for India at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said that Obama’s unprecedented visit as Republic Day chief guest is a “powerful symbol of the new energy he and Prime Minister Modi have brought to India-US relations”.

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