Indo US relations – Expectations from Obama’s Visit

The Obama’s visit last time in 2010 was to an extent beneficial. He announced a series of business deals worth more than 10 billion $ even though there was a declining trend in economy that time. Later, the bilateral relations between India and US were stalled in the last two years of UPA government because of Manmohan Singh’s inability to advance economic reform (due to various reasons). With few friends by the time he left the office, America was not happy with PM’s performance putting pressure to act tough on India.

Now that Modi is doing his best to advance the economic reforms, US is gaining the confidence back. His 5 day visit in September 2014 has induced feel good factor. Though there are still some challenges in the relations, for instance, the disagreement at the World Trade Organization over trade substitutes – unlike Singh, Modi has decade long track record of being a business friendly CM. This is a positive factor to US to advance in strong political relationships.

India US(picture copied from brahmand.com website)

Obama’s Visit can benefit in the following with some actions being taken:

Energy and Climate Change:

India is eager to produce electricity from US built nuclear power plants.
White House stated: “increasing energy access, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving resilience in the face of climate change, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to a new and enhanced strategic partnership on energy security, clean energy, and climate change”

Defense:

  • Renew for ten more years the 2005 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship
  • US to work together in military education and training
  • Maritime security, especially important during the domination of China in Indian Ocean

High Tech and Space technologies:

  • India’s is a strong contributor with the U.S. Department of Energy on high-energy physics and accelerator research and development. India is expecting US to partner with IIT’s
  • Also the India is eagerly looking forward for the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, to be launched in 2021.  Next steps to accomplish the mission can be discussed.

India ranks 4 in the most powerful Militaries!!

ET magazine today published “The 10 most powerful militaries in the world” in its centre page. I felt a moment of pride when I see India ranking 4th. I see India has second largest military manpower in the world after China. While US spends $612 billion and China $126 billion, Russia $76 billion, countries UK, Japan, India, France and Germany spend nearly $45 billion each of their budget. Also published are various numbers of military assets like tanks, rocket systems, aircrafts, helicopters, submarines, and aircraft carriers.

indiandefence

Image taken from indiandefence.com

It’s also nice to see India possess 2 aircraft carriers while rest of the countries has 1 or none. Of course no need to mention US has 10. The number of aircraft carriers a country has determines its air power and amount of dependency on other countries’ local military bases.

In the last year’s Union budget, FDI limit in defence was increased from 26 to 49% to boost military modernization. It is very vital for India to allocate its budget based on strategic and operational (military modernization) priorities. Government has made military modernization as priority for now.

Strategic priorities determine when and where the forces are to be deployed. Though two third’s of military is deployed against Pakistan, the threat of conventional military war from Pakistan is not as much as from China now.

Why threat from China is noticeable:

  • There are unanswered questions on how the mountain corps across the China’s border is raised.
  • There has been increased presence of China’s navy in Indian Ocean.
  • The increased China’s defence budget.

Well, when it comes to National security – defence, not all strategies are not visible to us. I am certainly sure; there is something in our government’s mind that has a counter to China.

“Extra” charge for Viber and Skype?

Recently Airtel has increased the tariff for some of the internet services like Viber and Skype. After a couple of days later, they have reverted the rates back. The analogy given in Economic times on 30th Dec is quite interesting. How would you feel if the Toll booth guy on the highway stops your Maruti Swift and says, “Sorry, we have decided to charge more for Maruti Swifts, can you pay double the rate now for the toll?” How would you feel?

network (image taken from it watchdogs.com)

Lets see what Net Neutrality is: ISPs and governments need to treat all data equally, irrespective of service provided by the data, type of user – because Internet is a public resource. A logical question from Airtel’ perspective can be right: how internet is a public resource?, how about my cost of fibre, towers, etc. An ISP has every right to recover those costs of investment, but there is a thin line of difference between right to determine the price and right to differentiate the traffic. As he built the highway, a toll booth guy can demand a toll price for a car, but he don’t have right to differentiate price among cars as all cars occupies same space on road.

Similarly, fibre network is different and Internet is different. An ISP to convert fibre cables to internet infrastructure, it needs internet resources like IP addresses that are public property. When you have access to public property, you cannot determine the usage of it on your terms, or for your business interests. Innovation is a right path to navigate through the new challenges in market instead of raising the charges for Viber and Skype calls in a lazy way. It is not really appreciated a kind of good “business strategy”

The above article is analyzed from ET, 30th Dec