1st US Presidential visit on India's Republic day

Date: January 30, 2015

India US Nuclear deal H-1B visa Asia-pacific

Obama in India: Major takeaways for India & US 

 

In a precedent-setting visit, US President Barack Obama and PM Narendra Modi agreed on many important deals and committed that the two nations will be partners in broad social and economic progress.

The two leaders managed to put the civil nuclear deal to work, took defence cooperation up another notch, and the US President again endorsed India for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Some major points of this visit are-

1- India-US Delhi Declaration of Friendship

2-The Nuclear deal

3-India, U.S. sign three MoUs on smart cities

4-India-US declared Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region

5-H-1B visa issue

6-Joint production on defence projects

7-Social security pact

1- India-US Delhi Declaration of Friendship

An ‘India-US Delhi Declaration of Friendship’ was issued after the Modi-Obama meeting. The declaration attempts to define the contours of the India-US strategic partnership. The declaration said: “Chalein Saath Saath – forward together we go,”.

Details of the Joint statement: 

-It laid stress on the importance of strengthening bilateral defence ties, creation of transparent and rules-based markets and cooperation on climate change.

-It included a commitment to strengthening maritime cooperation, by ensuring security and freedom of navigation in the contentious South China Sea.

-The joint statement also called for closer India-Japan-US trilateral dialogue at the level of their respective foreign ministers.

-The US has also promised to help India become a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).

-The US also promised to help increase India’s voice and vote at international financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

-The joint statement identified Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Haqqani Network, D Company and Jaish-e-Mohammad among the terror outfits whose networks the two nations will take joint concerted efforts to disrupt. It also asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack to justice.

-The two sides signed agreements for developing Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam as smart cities. They also agreed for the need to scale up their cooperation in helping the former accurately forecast monsoon rainfall, vital for the country’s agriculture and economic growth.

2-Nuclear deal

The breakthrough on the nuclear deal – 10 years after the agreement was negotiated and six years after it was signed – paves the way for American companies to set up civil nuclear reactors, which India hopes will contribute to its energy security.Both the leaders claimed to have broken the logjam over the Indo-US nuclear deal – after overcoming key hurdles related to the liability of suppliers of nuclear reactors in the event of an accident and tracking of fuel supplied by the US.

A nuclear risk management fund, worth Rs 1,500 crore, will be created to cover operators and suppliers. This will be led by five Indian public-sector insurance firms, which will together contribute Rs 750 crore to the pool (the rest will be provided by the government).It is almost ten years since the civil nuclear agreement between India and the US was discussed and over seven years since the final agreement was signed.

 

3-India, U.S. sign three MoUs on smart cities

India and United States (US) have signed three Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) on smart cities.These MoUs were signed by the representatives of United States Trade and Development Agency (USTAD) and the respective Chief Secretaries of State Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh in the presence of Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.

These MoU’s seeks to give a boost to Union governments flagship smart cities scheme, by building smart cities in

                  1-Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

                  2-Ajmer in Rajasthan.

                  3-Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

US will help each respective state to conduct feasibility studies, finding investors, ways to use the best technology and formulating the plan for building three smart cities.While, respective state Governments will provide resources like technical information and data related to smart cities planning; staff, logistical and travel support and budgetary resources.

 

4-India-US declared Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region

Joint Strategic VisionIndia-US  declared Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region. The joint vision was signed during the visit of US President Barack Obama.

Joint Strategic Vision aimed to promote peace, prosperity and stability in Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region.

 

Both the countries agreed to work together to

  • Promote accelerated infrastructure connectivity and economic development in a manner that links South, Southeast and Central Asia.
  • Enhanced energy transmission and encouraging free trade and greater people-to-people linkages.
  • Affirm the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea as regional prosperity depends on security.
  • To promote the shared values that have made both the countries countries great, recognizing their interests in peace, prosperity and stability are well served by their common commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  • To strengthen the East Asia Summit on its tenth anniversary to promote regional dialogue on key political and security issues, and to work together to strengthen it.
  • The countries oppose terrorism, piracy, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction within or from the region.
  • The countries call on all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • To achieve this regional vision, both sides will develop a roadmap that leverages their respective efforts to increase ties among Asian powers, it will enable both nations to better respond to diplomatic, economic and security challenges in the region.
  • Also, over the next five years, both sides have committed to strengthen regional dialogues, invest in trilateral consultations with third countries in the region more robust, deepen regional integration, strengthen regional forums, explore additional multilateral opportunities for engagement, and pursue areas where we can build capacity in the region that bolster long-term peace and prosperity for all.

 

5-H-1B visa issue

President Obama has assured  that he will look into India's concerns on the H-1B visa issue as part of his comprehensive immigration reform.Obama told Prime Minister Modi that his administration would be in touch with the Indian government on issues related to H-1B visas.  This Visa is very popular among Indian techical experts.

 

6-Joint production on defence projects

Renewing their expansive defence framework for another 10 years, India and the US decided to kick off joint manufacturing of four relatively modest military products and explore the development of two more high-end technologies.The two nations agreed to step up joint combat exercises, maritime security endeavours, intelligence-sharing mechanisms, military exchanges and the like through the framework, which has the key new element of Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) to bolster India's fledgling defence-industrial base.The DTTI will be launched with four aptly-called "pathfinder projects" since India wants to first ascertain how these "not-so-complex technologies" actually materialize on the ground. The Indian defence establishment, after all, is yet to fully shed its long-standing inhibitions about the US being a reliable long-term supplier of top-notch technologies.

The four products to be co-produced are the next-generation Raven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), "roll-on, roll-off" intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance modules for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, mobile electric hybrid power sources and "uniform integrated protection ensemble increment-2 (chemical, biological warfare protection gear for soldiers)".

 

7-Social security pact

The US agreed to take the first step in addressing India's long-pending demand of signing a Totalization Agreement that will help Indian workers in the US get annual refunds of around $3 billon (Rs 18,000 crore) worth of social security contributions they make.The issue has been pending for years as the US has failed to recognize either the contributions made to the Employees Provident Fund or the National Pension Scheme as a valid social security contribution in India. As a result thousands of software and other professionals lose out on the money they contribute to the US scheme while being stationed there.