By Arun Kumar
Taking a generally positive view of US President Barack Obama’s India visit, the US media has suggested that his personal chemistry with Prime Minister Narendra Modi had opened a new chapter in India-US relations.
“After years of near misses and unfulfilled promises,” Obama and Modi “appear to have set relations between their democracies on a deeper, perhaps even revolutionary, path,” the influential New York Times commented.
“Part of the improvement in bilateral relations has to do with the personal chemistry between the two, which by all accounts appears warm and genuine,” it said in an editorial titled “A New Chapter for America and India.”
Apart from “plenty of colourful symbolism” the Times said “There are strategic imperatives at work as well.”
“Both leaders need to expand their economies, and both see the other as a crucial partner in offsetting China’s increasingly assertive role in Asia,” it said suggesting “The potential for cooperation is considerable.”
With their talk of an “enduring commitment,” Obama and Modi “have raised expectations and set a firm basis for moving forward,” the Times said.
But “Building a true partnership will take sustained efforts over many decades.”
The Wall Street Journal in a review titled “A US-India Nuclear Test” suggested “Obama’s visit leaves Modi with a chance to show his reform chops.”
“Given the once-frosty relations between the US and India, it is worth celebrating the bonhomie displayed by Messrs. Modi and Obama this week, along with the growing cooperation between US and Indian defence planners,” it said.
“Yet protectionist policies and political dysfunction in New Delhi continue to limit India’s growth as an economic and diplomatic power,” the Journal said.
“The latest US-Indian civil-nuclear pact is a test of Mr. Modi’s ability to overcome political resistance to pro-market reforms,” it said.
CNN also wondered “Is Obama-Modi ‘bromance’ a turning point in US, Indian relations?”
“The biggest takeaway from Obama’s three days in India was the symbolism of the leaders of the world’s two biggest democracies cozying up,” it said.
“But others would have seen greater geopolitical implications.”
“Unlike Obama’s previous India visit in 2010, Pakistan was not a focus — at least in public statements,” the news channel noted.
“Instead, India seems to be positioning itself for a more global role, playing a part in issues that go beyond its borders.”
Giving “symbolism its moment and its due,” CNN suggested “Maybe it will make India a more prominent player in global issues, over time.”
“And maybe, just maybe, India and the US may move a little closer to forming the ‘defining partnership’ that Obama first promised in 2010,” it said.
Obama’s visit to India had angered Pakistan, the Los Angeles Times suggested citing Islamabad’s comments lambasting the US “selectivity and discrimination” favouring rival India.
“The comments reflected deep concern in Pakistan that Obama’s heavily choreographed embrace of India and its ambitious new prime minister could jeopardise Islamabad’s lucrative but troubled relationship with Washington,” it said.