News / USA

    Expectations Modest Ahead of Obama-Singh Talks

    U.S. President Barack Obama is received by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he arrives for bilateral talks. Nov. 8 2010.
    U.S. President Barack Obama is received by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he arrives for bilateral talks. Nov. 8 2010.
    Aru Pande
    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travels to Washington on Friday for a working visit with U.S. President Barack Obama, capping a year full of high-profile exchanges between two of the world's largest democracies. However, while there have been a great many pledges made, some say the U.S.-Indian relationship has seen few breakthroughs since a landmark nuclear deal was approved in 2008. 
     
    While briefing reporters in New Delhi last week, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh cited an incredible 55 official bilateral exchanges or visits when noting the momentum the U.S-India relationship has gained so far this year. The foreign secretary said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s upcoming talks with President Barack Obama will reaffirm the political commitment both sides have in deepening ties.
     
    “A visit such as this is focused not merely on deliverables but also on establishing and reaffirming the strategic benefits that each side derives from the relationship,” said the foreign secretary.
     
    U.S Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden expressed similar sentiment during their trips to New Delhi this year, but political analysts in India and abroad say the rhetoric has not translated into reality since 2005, when then-U.S. President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brokered a deal allowing India access to civilian nuclear technology after decades of isolation over the country’s nuclear weapons program.
     
    Referring to the 2005 breakthrough, Rory Medcalf of the Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy said, “it removed the biggest obstacle of discrimination and mistrust in the global political systems between the two countries, but now the hard work has begun. The follow-through to the nuclear deal has been pretty messy and disappointing. U.S. industry is not happy with Indian nuclear liability laws. There are trade barriers or societal barriers on both sides.”
     
    Medcalf also points to Indian concerns about changes to American visa rules that would make it harder for Indian IT workers to operate in the United States. Medcalf adds that India is also not quite ready to commit to a close alignment with the U.S. on issues like Iran.
     
    Bharat Karnad, a professor at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research, questions the need for India to align itself so closely with U.S. policy. Karnad says that under the Singh administration, the U.S.-India relationship has become increasingly one-sided, with India being asked to minimize its historic relationship with nations like Iran.
     
    “On Iran, we have to absolutely stand our ground and say ‘no, you can do what you want - you are on the other side of the globe, but Iran is right here, it gives us access and all these other things and therefore we are going to be dealing with Iran the best we know how. And if that upsets you guys, go, upset,’” said Karnad.
     
    Karnad says India must have a clear view of its national interests, whether in Afghanistan or East Asia, and that any relationship with the United States should not be “transactional.”
     
    During Friday’s working visit, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama are expected to discuss bilateral cooperation on energy, security, trade and regional issues.
     
    Analyst Rory Medcalf says both sides should go into the talks with measured expectations and patience; it may take years before U.S.-India ties can reach their full potential.
     
    “India will play a constructive role in Afghanistan and has done so, India will be a very important voice in the Asian strategic order, such as the East Asia summit, and the management of tensions in Asia. But I don’t think at this stage India will be the kind of game-changing power that the Bush administration was hoping it would be when it began this strategic partnership,” said Medcalf.
     
    For now, the Indian prime minister and U.S. president have their own problems to focus on, such as boosting their respective countries’ struggling economies.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora