There are 10 key points to talk about. So, without any more delay, let’s get to it –
1. Bilateral trade and investment – Its benefits on both countries and the challenges it could face.
Today major economies of Europe are mired in less than 1 percent growth. Japanese economy continues to be in doldrums. Chinese growth, though in the 7 percent range, is decelerating. Among the big economies only in USA and India growth is on an upward trend. USA cannot sustain the growth it desires to achieve without a piece of India’s rising growth through trade and investment. And, India cannot keep up to its promise without tapping US market and US technology, again through trade and investment. Both the leaders know this. In a democracy, deals are hammered out by diplomats; but they have to be ratified by legislature. The twain may not meet. India also has to grapple with the formidable challenge of moving up speedily on ‘ease of doing business’ chart to actually attract more investment from the US.
2. Civil-nuclear agreement – Its benefits on both countries and the challenges it could face.
American companies stand to expand their business by building nuclear reactors in India. Energy starved nation, India, stands to gain through access to nuclear energy. But at what cost? Who will bear it? These and other issues will need to be thrashed out in the legislature before the deal becomes a reality.
3. Importance of an economy sustained by large contribution from middle-income families as opposed to that from just the rich or the upper-middle class.
Growing inequality in the distribution of income can create social tension which can derail economic growth. Second, growth, heavily skewed in favor of rich, is unsustainable because spending growth will slow down and economies grow on continuous spending support. Not only the middle class but also people at the bottom of the pyramid have to be brought to the mainstream to achieve rapid growth. Policies must focus on job creation, upgrade in skills and, in general on creating an environment conducive to growth.
4. Why President Obama stressed the importance of women’s empowerment ? Was it done to pander to the public or could it really mean something significant for a fast growing economy ?
It was a pointed message wrapped in the language of friendship that India needs to elevate the status of girls and women in the society.
5. Let’s highlight some of the nuances of the comparison that was drawn between President Obama’s climb to success and the unlikelihood of it and Prime Minister Modi’s climb to success and the unlikelihood of it ; how or if the comparison brought out the similarity or dissimilarity between the way hard work and tenacity rewards people in both countries.
Here too, Mr. Obama had a powerful message to convey. Not just hard work and tenacity, but more importantly, opportunity and dignity. Lest the audience construes what he said as ‘lecturing’, he couched his edged comments with acknowledgement of American flaws.
6. What would it mean, in terms of responsibility, if India became a permanent member of the UN security council?
It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of permanent membership of UN Security Council. It carries responsibilities as well. The American mindset tends to see the world either ‘with us or against us’. The perception is that it will not work with India. For example, though India fears expansionist China, Mr. Modi last year rolled out the red carpet for Mr. Xi. He also hosted President Putin and refused to join the US-led condemnation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Japan’s Shinzo Abe is Mr. Modi’s best friend. Mr. Obama is his newest. India has to remain non-aligned and continue to take a balanced view on contentious issues.
7. Why China does not like the partnership – How concerned should China be, and why? Can India really balance out the power equilibrium in the region?
US needs a strong India as a hedge against a rising China. India needs the US for similar reasons. Neither leader will say anything in public about that. Yes, India can balance out the power equilibrium in the region by sleeping with both Japan and USA while avoiding open conflict with China.
8. The necessity of cooperating on curbing climate change, if it in fact poses as serious a problem as President Obama would have us believe.
There is no chance of a meaningful climate change deal unless the US and India see eye to eye. China has entered into a treaty on this, but India has not. Let’s see how things pan out in Paris, where India will more formally declare its stance on climate change.
9. India’s global standing in terms of economy, military and how much this partnership could better it’s standing. Also, how quality of life of the Indian people can be improved as a result of India’s commitment to this partnership.
India is the largest democracy and the third largest economy in the world. On the whole, it has a formidable military. By training together and building cutting edge military technology and equipment, together with the US, India’s military arsenal can only enhance. By playing its part in this partnership, India will improve its economy and largely unify contributions from all classes of society which will undoubtedly improve the quality of life of all of the Indian people.
10. Let’s conclude by highlighting, broadly, the approach, theme and objective of this partnership, and if it is in fact going to be the defining partnership of the twenty first century.
India and USA would be able to lead many forms of innovation. Both countries would work together to resist and stop terrorist aggression and conflicts in their respective regions leading to a more stable world economy and a more peaceful world. Bilateral investment and trade would mean opportunities for Americans and Indians across all layers of society to partner together and take on bold new ventures that could change both their lives. Both countries stand to gain a lot from this partnership and continued commitment to it would see many internal and external problems being resolved for both countries.