Obama's visit: India-US Roadmap for Strategic Partnership
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By B Raman
Issue Net Edition | Date : 09 Nov , 2010

A comprehensive roadmap for giving shape to the Indo-US strategic partnership has been the most important outcome of the very successful visit of President Barack Obama to India from November 6 to 8,2010. The details of this roadmap are to be found in the joint statement issued by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Obama on the conclusion of his visit.

Obama’s Visit: Focus on Pakistan

President_Obama_ManmohanThe basic foundation of this strategic partnership will be  “the shared values and increasing convergence of interests” between the two countries. This convergence of interests relates to shared security as well as shared prosperity.The joint statement said: “The two leaders reaffirmed that India-US strategic partnership is indispensable not only for their two countries but also for global stability and prosperity in the 21st century. To that end, President Obama welcomed India’s  emergence as a major regional and global power and affirmed his country’s interest in India’s rise, its economic prosperity, and its security.”

The joint statement and the President’s well-drafted address to a joint session of the Parliament on November 8 sought to remove Indian misgivings that he had diluted the importance given by his predecessor George Bush to the Indo-US Strategic Partnership.The partnership as projected by the Bush Administration was vague in concepts and weak in details. Manmohan Singh and Obama have sought to strengthen the conceptual framework of the partnership and lay down a comprehensive architecture for the partnership.

The framework and architecture envisaged by them  will have   regional, global and bilateral dimensions. The regional dimensions will be :

“¦India-US strategic partnership is indispensable not only for their two countries but also for global stability and prosperity in the 21st century”¦ President Obama welcomed Indias  emergence as a major regional and global power and affirmed his countrys interest in Indias rise, its economic prosperity, and its security.

  • Deepening  existing regular strategic consultations on developments in East Asia, and  expanding  and intensifying  their strategic consultations to cover regional and global issues of mutual interest, including Central and West Asia.
  • Intensifying  consultation, cooperation and coordination to promote a stable, democratic, prosperous, and independent Afghanistan and pursuing   joint development projects with the Afghan Government in capacity building, agriculture and women’s empowerment. These joint projects will suplplement the individual projects of the two countries.
  • In an indirect reference to regional concerns over the Chinese assertiveness  in the South and East China Seas and the perceived lack of transparency in Chinese policies, the statement said: “In an increasingly inter-dependent world, the stability of, and access to, the air, sea, space, and cyberspace domains is vital for the security and economic prosperity of nations. Acknowledging their commitment to openness and responsible international conduct, and on the basis of their shared values, India and the United States have launched a dialogue to explore ways to work together, as well as with other countries, to develop a shared vision for these critical domains to promote peace, security and development. The leaders reaffirmed the importance of maritime security, unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation, in accordance with relevant universally agreed principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and peaceful settlement of maritime disputes. “

Thus, the partnership will seek to promote peace and security across Asia in general and in East and Central Asia in particular, strengthen maritime security and work for a peaceful settlement of maritime disputes. Though China has not been named, Beijing will have reasons to be concerned over the implications of this formulation.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

B Raman

Former, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai & Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat. He is the author of The Kaoboys of R&AW, A Terrorist State as a Frontline Ally,  INTELLIGENCE, PAST, PRESENT & FUTUREMumbai 26/11: A Day of Infamy and Terrorism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

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