Obama’s India journey: Pomp, symbolism and mapping next steps

Blending pomp and ceremony with substantive outcomes, US President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to New Delhi promises to “reinvigorate” the multifarious India-US strategic partnership and reinforce the centrality of Washington as “a key partner” of New Delhi in the ongoing transformation of India and its aspiration to play a bigger role on the global stage.
Ahead of the trip, both India and the US have struck an upbeat note. “We see President Obama’s visit as strengthening our ties across the full breadth of our relations – ties between our governments, our peoples and our institutions,” said Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of India’s ministry of external affairs, in New Delhi January 22.
Washington is also betting big on Obama’s visit and has underlined multiple advantages for the US in building a closer and multi-faceted relationship. Headline-hunters may be disappointed though; breakthroughs and big-ticket outcomes may not be immediately visible, but the broad paradigm of the India-US has shifted to a point when there is greater comfort and assurance in the relationship so that the two countries can shed the temptations of hype and quietly and incrementally fructify what they have promised to do, and sustain an enduring and mutually empowering partnership.

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