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Millennium Post

Camaraderie, but on equal footing

Result: India’s interests were sold at the altar of naked greed as floodgates of market were opened, trade conditions and confidentiality of government/defence secrets compromised. Even lives of millions of Indians were put at risk when attempts were made to shove down the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement without the crucial liability clause.

In addition, under the UPA regime, New Delhi had conceded unacceptably huge ground to Washington in spheres like intellectual property rights and drug patent laws, opening up of domestic markets to US-led transnational retail business without adequately safeguarding the interests of small and medium-size domestic entrepreneurs, among others. But worst of all, the shameful permission to snoop at large on Indian politicians, diplomats, corporate top guns, civil rights activists, etc, was really the lowest point to which the Manmohan Singh-led UPA regime had stooped to satisfy their American masters. What we expect from the Narendra Modi government, therefore, at the very least, is a new and more equal beginning of a camaraderie that has enough potential without being one-sided or discriminatory.

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s India visit assumes importance in this new era of measured expectations and reconfigured bilateral ties. Kerry’s courting of India – through his rendezvous with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, press conferences and media interviews – is really about smoothening the rough edges of Indo-US ties. This is particularly in the light of India’s resolute stance at WTO, according to which New Delhi refused to sign into treaty the trade facilitation agreement (conceived at the Bali ministerial meet in December 2013).

In addition, the US has reasons to be shaken up after the consolidation of the New Development Bank at the recently concluded BRICS meet in Brazil, which, along with the Currency Reserve Fund, is likely to pose a formidable challenge to both World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Naturally, the US is hardly happy over the Global South-led developments in the political economy that point towards a multilateral world at odds with unchallenged US neoimperial supremacy. Hence, after a series of diplomatic standoffs, such as in the case of Devyani Khobragade, India’s staunch opposition to the US Big Pharma-driven patent laws, New Delhi’s determination to put food security of developing and less developed nations before TFA, the NSA surveillance revelations, simmering discontent over excessive FDI, what Washington needs to do is concede some ground to New Delhi in order to press the reset button.
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