Obama’s India visit

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President Obamas three day tour of India is the most important part of his trip to Asia that will also take him to Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. The US president has been at pains to explain that his mission is aimed at seeking avenues for US exports, crucial for resolving the issue of unemployment, which continues to erode Obamas popularity at home. This explains why a large number of US business executives form part of the Presidents entourage. An India flush with money and mulling to purchase, to start with, $10 billion worth of military equipment particularly military aircraft, is seen as a most promising market for US weapons systems. The deal also neatly fits into the US strategic requirement of building India as a counterweight to Chinas growing power.

While the military deals with India might help Obama in domestic politics, these would cause concern among a number of neighbouring countries whose disputes with New Delhi remain unresolved. It was confirmed by a ranking US security official at the beginning of the tour that the best way to resolve Pak-India issues, including Kashmir, was through bilateral talks excluding third party intervention. In Bombay President Obama would pay respect to the victims of the 2008 terror attacks while he would also stay along with his entourage at Taj Mahal hotel to underline Americas commitment to fight terrorism.

It would be unrealistic on the part of Islamabad to wring its hands in despair. An arms race with India is simply not feasible. A countrys ability to defend itself or to assert in international relations depends on the strength of its economy. The crucial need on the part of the government therefore is to set its house in order. This requires eradicating terrorist groups of all hues and colours and removing other factors that continue to bleed the economy. Most of all this requires good governance and a steadfast adherence to the rule of law.