Sunday, 1 February 2015

Daily News Mail

“socialist, secular” inserted in Preamble— introduced through the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act in 1976.

A new chapter of openness

  • Barack Obama dwelt in his farewell speech on all the similarities between the two nations: as diverse, multi-religious, tolerant democracies that respect human rights.Over the last three days, he made a much more vivid enunciation of where the future of India-U.S. ties lies as well. From the joint statement, to a declaration of friendship, to a strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific region, rarely has the state-of-play between New Delhi and Washington been so clearly mapped out during any Indo-U.S. 
  • The vision statement on the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region is likely to have a more lasting impact on relations with China, as it seeks to portray an India-U.S. front against diplomatic, economic and security challenges in the region.
  • Meanwhile, as the euphoria from the successes of the visit subsides, Mr. Modi will need to explain domestically just how he was able to achieve the visit’s biggest “breakthrough”: on nuclear issues. For the past six years, India and the U.S. have been unable to conclude the “administrative arrangements” that would enable commercial cooperation between Indian and American companies under the civil nuclear deal.
  • On the business side, there were no significant outcomes to talk about except for the resolve to expand trade ties and a $4-billion commitment from the U.S. in investment and loans. To put this in perspective, Mr. Modi returned with a $35-billion investment commitment from Japan when he visited Tokyo last year. Ironically, half of the investment committed by Mr. Obama will go into the renewable energy sector where the U.S. and India are locked in a trade dispute at the WTO. The dispute is over India’s imposition of local content requirements on solar cells and modules as part of the projects awarded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The U.S. is also unhappy with the Make in India policy, especially in the renewable energy sector where it sees great prospects for its own companies. It remains to be seen how much of the investment committed by Mr. Obama actually happens, given that it is linked to Indian companies sourcing technology and products from the U.S.
  •  If the Indian IT sector was hoping for an agreement on the issue of H1B visas, then it must be disappointed for Mr. Obama did not go beyond giving an assurance that the U.S. would look into all aspects as part of overall immigration reform.
  • Mr. Obama also had India on the back foot on the subject of Intellectual Property protection, pointing out that U.S. companies were hampered by the lack of adequate protection in India

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