Strengthening the Bond: Looking at the Energy and Defense Perspective

The relationship between India and the United States is on the threshold of a new resurgence. Newer opportunities are knocking at the doorsteps of both the countries and with Narendra Modi all set to visit US next month, there could not be a more opportune time to take this relationship to the next level. The recent visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to India could not have come at a more crucial juncture. Their meetings with various dignitaries, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reinforced the need to strengthen the relationship between the two countries, in the wake of India walking out of the WTO.
th11_bu_LNG_890353fThe issue of Energy security is critical for both the US and India. As a country US is producing more fuel than it can ever use, but the refusal to export the same to India is hurting the trade relations between the two countries. For US, it would ensure that thousands of jobs are created and it would boost the economy several notches higher and for India it would mean an uninterrupted supply of clean energy. Why this win-win situation for both US and India is still pending and has not been implemented is beyond comprehension.
Apart from that, defense development between the two countries is the need of the hour and both US and India must seize every opportunity to collaborate on defense and not let other factors restrict the growth between the two nations. The recent visit of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to India was a step in that direction.
Hagel has left India with few concrete agreements and he acknowledges the fact that the world’s oldest and the world’s largest democracy must be results oriented and do more to transform the defense co operation between both the nations from just buying and selling tradeoffs to the next level of co production and co development.

defence1In the near future, The US is hoping to partner with India as it modernizes its military, but at the same time Indian leaders are more interested in co-development opportunities than in simply buying American-made weapons.

The new initiative brought to the forefront by Hagel includes more than a dozen proposals that would transfer technology and production expertise to India. It includes a plan for the US and India to co-produce and co-develop, the next upgrade of the Javelin anti-tank missile which would be cheaper, lighter and more capable.

The development initiative in other words is part of a larger picture which is America’s attempt to improve what has often been a shaky relationship with India, which can turn out to be one of their most prominent allies in Asia.

A Modi-Fied India prepares for its 67th Independence Day

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for his first speech from Delhi’s Red Fort on Independence Day, history is waiting to be rewritten. In fact Modi has been preparing for this moment for some time now.
If we roll the clock back a year from now, it was on August 14, 2013 when Modi had thrown down the gauntlet by challenging that his August 15 speech in Gujarat, as Chief Minister, would draw as much attention as that of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s from the Red Fort.
modi_speech_win_apHis speech last year on Independence Day had begun from a college in Bhuj and had started about half an hour after Manmohan Singh’s speech had finished. Modi had then torn into Dr. Singh’s speech branding it uninspiring and disappointing. The bigwigs at BJP had then proclaimed that Mr. Modi’s next Independence Day speech would be at Delhi’s Red Fort. In fact so fond a wish was it that in election-bound Chhattisgarh in September last year, the BJP erected a replica of the Red Fort as a stage for a Modi rally.
Here we are a year later, and the stage is set for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver a speech which many expect would be inspiring and thought provoking in equal amounts.

As the D day draws closer, it is believed that the speech will highlight three major initiatives that are in the pipeline. The spotlight shall remain on big ticket reforms but the three initiatives-a clear plan for the Clean Ganga project, skill development for the nation’s youth, and real steps to ensure financial inclusion-will be the main ingredients of Modi’s first address to the nation.
In fact all three of these major initiatives have been the fulcrum of Modi’s campaign and have been the party’s manifesto in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections this year. In the pipeline are plans to create separate nodal offices for skill development and Clean Ganga project. While the skill development for youth is proposed to be handled by about 20 ministries, different programmes to clean Ganga shall fall under at least three ministries.
2013_3$img03_mar_2013_pti3_3_2013_000044b_505_030313062310True to Modi’s focus on skill development, the government has completely dedicated one of the six areas on the recently launched web portal MyGov to it. The purpose is to develop bold ideas, concrete policies, initiatives and interventions to help develop employable skills on a mass scale to meet the needs of the industry and help youth enter the job market.
So as the countdown begins for August 15, the nation shall wait with bated breath for Modi to unleash a speech which will be charismatic and impactful in equal amounts. After all, we already know he is a man of his words.