SPECIAL REPORT: Modi-Obama summit


Amidst crises galore, Modi, Obama to focus on defence, security…writes Arun Kumar 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with school students across the nation during a Teachers' Day programme at Manekshaw Auditorium, in New Delhi on September 05, 2014. (Photo: IANS/PIB)Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s summit meeting with President Barack Obama will have a strong focus on defence and security issues taking place as it does in the midst of a number of international crises, US officials say.

The Sep 29-30 summit comes at a very “pivotal and remarkable time in international affairs globally with international crisis ranging from fight against ISIL (Islamic State) in the Middle East to the challenges posed to the people and governments in West Africa by Ebola”, officials previewing the visit said Friday.

It’s in this context that the two leaders would be meeting and “we are looking forward to discuss a full range of global issues and considering the means of addressing those issues and those challenges together”, a senior administration official said.

The visit would help the two leaders to know each other and establish a personal rapport, the official said, and give them an opportunity to set forth their vision for this “defining partnership of the 21st century.”

While there would be strong focus on defence and security issues, energy, climate change and trade and economy would be other major areas of discussion when they sit down for their bilateral summit in Obama’s Oval office next Tuesday.
“What you will see is really a good, strong focus on defence and security issues, but then also on clean energy and climate change,” an official said in response to a question.
“You will probably see the majority of the deliverables that come out of that conversation to be within that spectrum.”
Addressing India’s security concerns and strengthening security partnership both in terms of security of the homeland, on counter-terrorism as well as regional and global security in terms of the defense partnership will be another area of focus, the official said.
“We expect to be able to advance those relationships significantly,” the official added.
“We are fully committed to helping India in achieving its domestic ambition of a strong economy and enabling a strong, capable and confident India at home.”
This “will also serve the US and global interests in having a strong and capable partner to address regional and global challenges as well”, officials said.
The US can play a strong and supportive role in support of Modi’s economic objectives and goals and his priorities with respect to infrastructure, with respect to manufacturing and skills, they said.
When asked about Modi’s fast during the visit, the official said this would not be an issue.
“Both we and the Indians have agreed that this should not be a distraction or change any of the things that we want to take on during the visit.”
“It’s simply a practice by the prime minister that we’ll work to accommodate, but all the events will go forward and look forward to conducting a full range of business through those events,” the official said.

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