Agenda for Modi, Obama talks

With India and the United States of America relations on a high, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama are all set to meet on the sidelines of the UNGA session on September 28 for bilateral talks. The two sides held their first ever Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) on September 22. The ground was laid for the meeting between the two leaders with the ministerial level dialogue already having discussed the specifics.

US views India as a critically important partner in its Asia policy. With the growing assertiveness of China, the US is looking to grow its bilateral strategic partnership with India. Mr Modi’s visit comes following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the US. During the first India-US S&CD meeting, led by US Secretary of State John Kerry and India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the two countries have decided to step up cooperation in fighting terrorism. A joint statement elaborating on combating terror was issued. With the growing threat of rising extremist organisations like Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the two sides have been working on enhancing their security cooperation.

A few weeks ahead of the global climate change summit COP-21 to be held in Paris, India and US are expected to discuss and announce some initiatives for a successful outcome in Paris. India is also scheduled to declare its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in fighting emission on October 1, which is the deadline day for all countries to declare their INDCs. “Despite difficulties in aligning their approaches to the issue, both sides are aware that without US-India partnership no proposed solution can succeed on climate change,” US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said.

A few defence announcements could also be made with India clearing USD 2.5 billion worth deal to buy 37 military helicopters from US aviation company Boeing ahead of Mr Modi’s visit to the US. India plans to buy 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinooks, making US its largest supplier of weapons. India and the US have signed defence deals worth USD 10 billion over the last decade.

Education is another area that the two sides would look towards forging cooperation between their institutions of higher learning.

Bilateral trade would be the key in growing the bilateral strategic partnership between the two countries. With the trade between the two countries standing at USD 100 billion, the two countries plan to increase it to USD 500 billion in the near future. Going by the current trends the relationship between the two countries is on an upswing and one could expect an incremental progress in the bilateral partnership between the two countries.

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