As President Obama gets ready to host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the White House for the second time in as many years, a New York Times report describes the bond between the two as an “unlikely friendship”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid a wreath at the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers and paid homage to Indian-American astronaut (late) Kalpana Chawla at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.
The Prime Minister said, he is grateful to President Barack Obama for returning to India these treasures, which join Indians to their past. The Prime Minister said that India is not just a market of 1.25 billion, we have skills and a government which is open to business.
At the heart of improved U.S.-India relations over the last couple of years has been progress on the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) that was launched in 2012 with the goal of breaking down bureaucratic barriers and other obstacles to enhancing defense trade.
The U.S. State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report shows that India’s primary trafficking problem is forced labour.
As recently as 2005, the US denied Modi a travel visa after human rights groups accused him of not doing enough to stem the violence three years earlier during religious riots in Gujarat, the state he governed. He’ll also meet Congressional leaders and top business officials.
Obama was speaking alongside Modi after leaders of the world’s two largest democracies met in the Oval Office on Tuesday.
Modi later said, “I am thankful for the help and support that my friend President Obama has extended with regard to membership in MTCR and NSG”.
“Obama will have his work cut out in trying to persuade Chinese president Xi Jinping to support India’s entry into the elite club when the United States itself is wading through a sea of contentious issues with the Chinese”, said author and South Asia expert Adam V Larkey. A defense logistics agreement is likely to be finalized during Modi’s Washington visit. India, with some of the world’s most polluted air and intentions to develop more industry, was a reluctant signer of the deal involving almost 200 countries. Washington and New Delhi have “one of the biggest, fastest moving defence relationships in the world”, quipped former U.S. ambassador Frank Wisner.
These policies include forced localization barriers in the energy and information technology sectors; high tariffs and duties in a range of sectors, including telecom and medical device products; intellectual property policies that challenge the ability of USA and Indian entrepreneurs to innovate and protect their intellectual property (IP) in India; and continued burdensome procedures for companies trying to start and operate businesses.