From joint op-eds to ‘Chalein Saath Saath,’ the intricate symphony of the multi-hued India-US relations will add new notes in the joint radio address by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama.
On the last day of his three-day visit to India, President Obama will join Mr Modi in the latter’s monthly radio oration entitled “Mann Ki Baat,” on state-run All India Radio January 27.
“This month’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ episode will be a special one, where our Republic Day guest @BarackObama & I will share our thoughts together,” Modi shared the news on the microblogging platform Twitter January 24. “I am eagerly looking forward to the special ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme with President @BarackObama, which will be aired on 27th January.”
The joint radio address will not be a one-way street. Modi, the social-media savvy communicator, wants it to be an interactive show, and has invited questions from the audience. “‘Mann Ki Baat’ with President @BarackObama will not be complete without your participation! Send your Qs till the 25th, using #AskObamaModi,” the Prime Minister said. He added that questions could also be posted on mygov.in, the PM’s website for interactive governance.
Medium and Message
The joint radio address with a visiting foreign leader is a first-ever such exercise and a communication coup of sorts – it underlines the new Indian prime minister’s grasp of the intermeshing of diplomacy and media in an image-driven world.
Both Modi and Obama are consummate orators, and have used diverse media tools to communicate with the classes and masses. Since taking charge of the world’s most populous democracy, Modi has hosted three monthly radio shows that began in October, talking on a range of issues, including his vision of India and the growing drug addiction among the Indian youth. Obama, on his part, makes a weekly radio address from the White House. In the US, the presidents have used radio as a powerful platform to inform, inspire and preach.
The joint radio address also underlines an emerging Modi-Obama bonding, which was evident during their meeting at the White House on September 30, 2014. Much to the surprise of many, Modi and Obama hit it off at the dinner hosted by the US president and freely spoke about all-too-real issues impinging on their development priorities and the future trajectory of relations between the two countries. Obama also sprang another surprise by accompanying Mr Modi to a tour around the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington DC.
Amid talk of the drift in the India-US relations, Mr Modi and Mr Obama authored a joint op-ed article in the Washington Post during the former’s visit to the US. The article outlined the new mantra of “Forever together we go, chalein saath saath” and conjured up a big-picture view of the India-US strategic partnership in years to come.
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