Saturday, November 6, 2010

Obama needs Manmohan more than vice versa

I remember former US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India in the year 2000 when I was in school. There was a lot of buzz around the visit as to what his itinerary would be, where he would stay and who he would visit. And why not, it was after a gap of 22 years that a US President was stepping into the Indian soil with Jimmy Carter being the last to do so in 1978. His five day stay and tour around Agra, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Mumbai besides Delhi was flashing all over the newspapers and the just launched 24 hour news channels back then. No, we did not have any Twitter, Black Berry or Facebook in that era.

After all we were a nation which was looking up to America for everything be it outsourcing IT jobs to us, lifting the sanctions imposed after the Pokhran nuclear test and off course the engine for our ‘fully indigenous’ Light Combat Aircrafts. Cut to 2010, Barack Obama has arrived in India on one of his first Presidential tour and there seems to more buzz but less excitement. Our 20 odd news channels might be busy covering ever millisecond of his stay and tweets are flying all across the world but to most intelligent men in India this visit is more about give than take.

US Consulate’s apology to the Maharashtra Chief Minister on the identity card row has proved that US is going to play on the back foot. On the last occasion when George Bush visited India in 2006 US secret service agents had the courage to take sniffer dogs to Raj Ghat to make full proof security arrangements. This time around the US seems to be in a mood to take anything from India as long as it gets some market penetration and gets to create jobs in US riding on our shoulders. Who on earth would have imagined this kind of a master plan by an American President even when George Bush visited four years ago!

No, Obama won’t be talking about outsourcing as he doesn’t want to disappoint India. And, certainly not when 200 cash starved CEOs are travelling with him to revive the economy back home and put the country on a single digit growth at least. When Obama invited Mahmohan Singh as his first Presidential guest the die was cast and India was the only way for America to get out of the financial mess it is in. China and India are the fastest growing economies but China exports more than it imports while in India’s case it was an import driven economy till about a decade ago but is balancing its foreign trade with respect to the United States.

Obama’s team includes more than 200 CEOs from Boeing Company to The McGraw Hill. As they say ‘the business of America is business” Obama’s trip is more of a corporate get-together than a Presidential visit. Obama entered the White House with a superman like image and two years down the line going by economic and political situation he doesn’t seemed to have lived up to this famous one-liner ‘Yes, we can’. In Uncle Sam’s country people already doubt his chances for a second term. New Delhi is the only tow boat that can anchor Obama’s giant ship full of promises to dock in Washington.


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