Modi in the US: nothing beyond the NRI rallies?

Prashant Tandon

While we may be with fed images of heroic welcome of Modi in US by NRIs the other side of the visit – i.e. the official part may not attract similar song and dance and drum beating. Obama administration in its last leg will have to complete unfinished agenda what US wants to achieve from India. And Modi is more than willing to oblige to his ‘friend’ Barrack but will there be any reciprocity from the other side is only a guess.

On 24th May when US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations met to discuss India the tone is already set what is going to happen on the other side of negotiating table. What we know from media coverage is the there were some noises about the religious intolerance during Modi’s regime but in two and half hour meeting Senators came with impressive homework on India gave a long laundry list of issues to Obama administration through Nisha Biswal (Asst Secretary of State – South and Central Asian Affairs).

The Committee even invited two South Asia experts Sadanand Dhume and Alyssa Ayres to get their perspective on issues.

Chairman, Bob Corker and about four other senators raised issues of human rights violation and incidents of attacks on religious minorities and took the word from Biswal that these issues will be raised at ‘appropriate level’. By the way Senator Croker is a Republican – political party of Donald Trump for whose success Modi’s bhakts are doing “havans” in India.

Getting sense with the force with which senators discussed issue of poverty in India a new term ‘slavery’ is set to enter diplomatic terminology between US and India. It will have its own consequences in long term dealing with US. Such terminology lowers India’s perception and needs to be countered effectively through diplomatic channels rather than wasting time and energy on personal brand building through NRI rallies in foreign land.
Senators also gave a terse message to Biswal that they are not pleased with White House support to India for granting NSG (Nuclear Supply Group) membership without committing to NPT and MCTR.

There was unanimity in the house about ‘lacking’ ease of doing business. On labour reforms they were as precise as to quote Chapter V B of Industrial Disputes Act (Through this section there are some checks on lay off, closure, lockout for industrial units employ over 100 persons)

Senators also expect that Modi to come with framework for the execution of LSA and CISMOA (components of Foundation Agreements under DTTI). In a nut shell these agreements are about mutual access to military bases and communication frequencies. In addition to peace process with Pakistan, clauses of Nuclear Liability Law, Modi governments policy of stopping grants of NGOs etc had also come.

Modi’s supporters have no idea as how with their acts they provide tool to corner their god on negotiating table.

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