By Varun Sharma:
Obamas were all smiles when they landed in India with their contingent numbering 3000 in number (not considering the ones who spent the past week checking Indian sewers). The very first visit was to the Taj Palace where the couple interacted with the survivors and the families of the departed. Statements were made about how terrorism is a big threat to both the countries. Second came the visit to the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. Again, to nobody’s surprise, statements were made referring to father of the nation as the hero to the whole world. The contingent is moving forward spreading the message of love and reinforcing the brotherhood between the two nations.
Visiting schools, answering questions raised by college students, visiting monuments, celebrating (belated) Diwali and paying condolences to the 26/11 survivors. Mr. President didn’t want to leave anything to chance and it looks like he is playing his cards well.
The (talked about) objective of the visit is to strengthen business and strategic relations among the two nations to the common good of both the nations. The other (not so talked about) objective is to make arrangements for the storm not far away. Suffering a major blow on home turf where the Democrats were sent trailing by the republicans in recently concluded mid-term elections, anything Mr. Obama takes back home for his countrymen from India will count.
Twenty deals worth $10 billion and 53,670 US jobs on Day 1 of the visit is not a bad score. The bigger fishes were Indian Air Force’s pact with Boeing to buy 10 C-17 transport aircraft, SpiceJet’s definitive agreement to purchase 30 B737-800s and Reliance Power’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) with GE to buy turbines.
While India came out of the whirlpool of slowdown unscathed, America is still struggling to keep itself afloat in the troubled waters with unemployment nearly touching double digit marks. Officially, the American economy has come out of the slowdown but everyone knows Uncle Sam is still running on ventilator with bleeding banks and gloomy expectations. But only few are familiar with the gravity of the situation. Mr. Obama surely knows the job has just started and he still needs a lot of home runs if he wants to continue his run as the most powerful man of the world.
The statement “India should give US companies the same access to its market that US gives” given by Mr. President on the issue of outsourcing to India does ring a lot of bells. While Mr. Obama himself gave nod to stringent action plans to protect the dwindling American economy by taking a firm stand on IT companies by using tax breaks, he is expecting India to do the reverse. When he is taking every possible step to protect the jobs in his own country, why India is allowing the ball to be in their court rather than providing opportunities to his own people?
Economists are still contemplating what America means by the win-win situation for the both countries. While Mr. Obama will leave our lands with solid results, India will again be left with empty promises backed by words of wisdom.