It would be a red letter day, November 8, 2010 for the central hall of Indian parliament as Barack Obama becomes the 4th US president to address the esteemed audience comprising of Indian law makers and other dignitaries.
The US president Mr Barack Obama seemed to have adoped a multi-pronged approach to focus on his India policy going beyond the conventional sense of the terms like economic cooperation and trade and instead has indcated towards addressing the core issues of India's priority areas like energy and agriculture.
In his address to the joint session of parliament at the central hall,
Mr Obama said both the countries sharing several commonality,
strengths and challenges can work together in three vital areas. ".... as global partners we can promote prosperity in both our countries. Together, we can create the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future," he said
adding with his visit the stage is already set for beginning the much
talked about implementation of civil nuclear agreement.
"This will help meet India’s growing energy needs and create thousands
of jobs in both our countries," President Obama said even as he
stressed on the need to forge partnerships in high-tech sectors like defense and civil space. He also said, the US administration has "removed" Indian organizations from so-called “entity list" and both the countries can work together to reform "our controls on exports".
On the agriculture front, he has sought to address the growing
challenge of Indian farmers in the form of getting more accurate
"Together, we’re going to improve Indian weather forecasting systems
before the next monsoon season,' he made a virtual pledge before
Indian law makers
and said his government aims to help millions of Indian farming
households save water and increase productivity; improve food
processing, avoid wastage of
food produces and enhance climate and crop forecasting to avoid losses
that cripple communities and drive up food prices.
In a much innovative measure, he also said, US will share "India’s
expertise with farmers in Africa" to meet the demand of global food
security. "This is an indication of India’s rise—that we can now
export hard-earned expertise to countries that see India as a model
for agricultural development,' he said.
He said his country would also work together with India to make the
country's second agricultural revolution called 'Evergreen Revolution'
more successful and
Earlier in the day, India's 'Monsoon Mission' had received a shot in
the arm with the signing of a pact that will enable its scientists to
use American models to better forecast rainfall. Under the pact,
signed on the sidelines of the visit of US President Barack Obama,
scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) will
be able to use the Model Climate Forecast System 2.0 of the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for monsoon prediction.
The agreement provides for setting up of a 'monsoon desk' in NOAA
under which one scientist at the American organisation would be
exclusively earmarked for consultations with his Indian counterpart.
"We will start using the model on an experimental basis from next year
to predict the Indian monsoon," Earth Sciences Secretary Shailesh
Other salient feature was his glowing tributes to Indian pristine past and
the Father of the Nation, peace apostle Mahatma Gandhi.
Paying glowing tributes to the resilience of India as a new global player as well as its pristine glories and ‘treasured past’, the US president exuded confidence that
“the relationship between the United States and India—bound by our shared interests and values—will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”
‘This is the partnership I have come here to build. This is the vision that our nations can realize together,” he said.
On India’s traditional oriental values, he said “India not only opened our minds, she expanded our moral imagination” and went onto observe that even his (Obama’s personal) “confidence in our shared future” is grounded in his respect for India’s treasured past—a civilization that has been shaping the world for thousands of years. “Indians unlocked the intricacies of the human body and the vastness of our universe. And it is no exaggeration to say that our information age is rooted in Indian innovations—including the number zero,” he said.
President Obama praised the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, and noted his influence on Martin Luther King and the non-violent resistance that exemplified the American civil rights movement. "I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as president of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared and inspired with America and the world," Mr Obama said
On a rare personal note, he said for him and his wife Michelle, the US president said this visit has held ‘special meaning’. “Throughout my life, including my work as a young man on behalf of the urban poor, I have always found inspiration in the life of Gandhiji and in his simple and profound lesson to be the change we seek in the world.”
Pointing out both the nations share the same commonalities like strong democracies with revolutionary commitment towards “we the people”, he said there were wide range of global issues and for a where both sides and the by working together can make immense contributions.
But all said and done and keeping the rhetoric aside, we Indians should understand that he needs to catch hold of India more with the resolute grip of a friend in need. The US today is no longer what it used to be,
all powerful. And true to Obama's own words, India has already 'emerged' in the global scene. One urnestly hopes, Dr Manmohan Singh's government does not crawl before the Americans at a time when he can show some firmness and probably US needs India more than we need the Americans.