Obama's India visit - International media report

Barack Obama's visit to India was on the top most priority when it came to international media last week. The other topics that attracted attention of the global media are debut of the book 'The Red Sari' in India, needs to ease Indians' access to live-saving drugs, Hinduism now becoming an integral part of politics and identity in India, Japan hostage crisis, President Obama claiming credit for an improving economy and many more. Here is the roundup of it all from the Team Niti Central.

Obama’s visit of India

Hemal Shah for Foreign Policy mentions that after a shaky stretch, Washington and Delhi have a window to pivot the partnership beyond just arms traders. These old democratic friends need a seamless, strategic partnership. She concludes by writing that,

"Against the backdrop of increasing security threats and closer alignment between Russia, China, and Pakistan, a national interest-driven Indian foreign policy is a welcome change. India should put a genuine effort into forging a closer strategic partnership with the United States to achieve India's goal of military modernization. Both sides would benefit by making the DTTI the foundation of the defence relationship."

The Economist wrote a piece admiring President Obama's endurance on January 26th when he becomes the first American president to be guest of honour at India's Republic Day parade in Delhi. The media added that under Narendra Modi, India is readier to admit to a tilt towards America.

Katie Zezima wrote for The Washington Post that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are going to India this weekend to attend Tuesday's Republic Day parade in New Delhi - the first time an American president will be a guest at the event, which celebrates India's democracy and its constitution. She quoted Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes say that,
"This is an enormously important event for the Indian people sends a very important message to the world, as well as to the American and Indian people about our commitment to embrace the potential of this relationship."

The editors for Bloomberg View wrote that, "Obama should acknowledge the benefits of Afghanistan's outreach to China and, when he travels to India next week, press Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue to give Ghani's gambit a chance. India has legitimate political and commercial interests in Afghanistan. But as with Chinese investments, these will produce little as long as fighting continues to wrack the country. Patience is in New Delhi's interest as much as Washington's; China is more likely than either of them to influence Pakistan's support for the Taliban insurgency."

Dhiraj Nayyar while writing for Bloomberg View between President Obama and PM Modi needs of India are greater. He advised PM Modi that,

"When he meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Obama will press for concessions that would open the door for US companies. Modi should grant them."

He concluded by writing that "Modi has shown he’s not afraid of taking risks: Simply inviting a U.S. president to be the guest of honour at Republic Day was too difficult for any other prime minister to attempt earlier. Now's the time for Modi to take more chances - for India's sake."  

Michael Kugelman wrote for The New York Times that President Obama and PM Modi cannot achieve a deep and strategic partnership until the United States deals more forthrightly with Pakistan, New Delhi's neighbour and nemesis. He added that,

"In effect, Washington needs to execute a delicate dance: Push back against Pakistan in order to further America's friendship with India, while taking care not to alienate the Pakistanis."

Nidhi Verma for Reuters wrote as to how India has asked its refiners to slash oil buys from Iran in the next two months to keep the imports in line with the previous fiscal year’s levels, sources with knowledge of the matter said, days ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi

Neil Joeck wrote for Foreign Policy that President Obama's visit to India came at an opportune time. He further adds that,

"Obama's new ambassador, Rich Verma, with his strong ties to the U.S. Congress, is in place and able to advance the U.S. position on thorny civil nuclear liability issues, increased trade, and intellectual property rights. New Secretary of Defines Ashton Carter enjoys great respect in India and can expand and consolidate military to military relations. The president himself has invested significant personal time and energy in relations with Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia more generally. The decision to share the stage on Republic Day gives President Obama a chance to make this visit the centrepiece of a revived Asia policy and a worthy foreign policy legacy."

Ellen Barry for the New York Times wrote that "With days to go before President Obama's arrival on Sunday, the order went out to "sanitize." Municipal cow catchers were ordered to round up the stray cattle that amble down the city's thoroughfares, unperturbed by the backup of traffic behind them. Men with slingshots have fanned out in the neighbourhood around the Indian president's sandstone palace, shrieking and barking in an effort to frighten away hundreds of rosy- bottomed monkeys."

On India

Nida Najar for The New York Times focused on the quiet debut of the book 'The Red Sari' on Sonia Gandhi in India. She called India a reshaped nation. She mentions further that,

"Five years ago, the release in India of "The Red Sari," about the president of the then- governing Indian National Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, was unthinkable. Mrs. Gandhi was considered by some the de facto prime minister of the country, and her loyalists were incensed by the book's contents, which they said was riddled with lies."

Geeta Anand wrote for The Wall Street Journal that as Prime Minister Narendra Modi fights to loosen bureaucrats' stifling grip on the economy, he also needs to ease Indians’ access to live-aving drugs. She further writes that as new and effective drugs that can cure even the most impervious forms of TB are available and approved for use in the US and Europe, India's public-health authorities are throwing up road blocks for the companies that make these medicines instead of getting them for India's desperate patients.

Murali Murti wrote for Quartz that the ascent to power of Narendra Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), means that Hinduism has now become an integral part of politics and identity in India. He further adds that,

"That contemporary Hinduism might prove to be a manifestation of popular sociocultural trends in a country of over a billion people has prompted serious reflection on a number of questions: What will Hinduism in the future look like? How will the new Hinduism impact politics, business and culture in 21st century India? These are questions that are now relevant not only to academicians but also to foreign policy strategists, the media and business people across the world."

Also as per him one of the ten commandments of future Hinduism will be, "Hinduism in the future will increasingly seek to become a component of national and political identity, similar to the association that Christianity and Islam have established in other parts of the world. Thus, Hinduism will identify itself with a particular geographic entity - the South Asian subcontinent - and incorporate the notions of "us" and the "other."

Chandrahas Choudhury's piece ridiculing the session on "Ancient Sciences through Sanskrit" at the Indian Science Congress was carried by Bloomberg View. The piece titled Prehistoric Airplanes and Other Indian Flights of Fancy' mentions that,

"Captain Anand Bodas, a retired pilot invited to speak at the event as part of a panel on "Ancient Sciences through Sanskrit," was certain that jumbo airplanes much larger than those of the present day had once trawled the skies. But not only was the obscure and cryptic Sanskrit text, "The Science of Aeronautics," he cited shown in a 1974 research paper to likely be of fairly recent origin, but also its technological prescriptions are themselves preposterous -  as any student today could tell you well before you get to the bit requiring "16 measures of asses' urine" and 22 of hare-dung."

Japan hostage crisis

Martin Fackler and Alan Cowell wrote for The New York Times about video posted online Tuesday showing a masked militant threatening to kill two kneeling Japanese men has confronted Japan with the same sort of hostage nightmare already faced by the United States and other nations. They add that,

"Political analysts said the images of the young Japanese men, dressed in the same kind of orange jumpsuits worn by hostages who were beheaded in previous videos, could mean trouble for Mr. Abe, by turning Japan’s deeply pacifist public against his pursuit of a more active role for Japan in global security issues."

The Japan Times carried piece on similar lines by Tomohiro Osaki where it was stated that, "The Islamic State group's threat Tuesday to execute two Japanese hostages is a chilling echo of a series of hostage crises involving Japanese citizens in 2004, including one that resulted in the victim being decapitated."

On the US

For The New York Times Michael D Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis wrote about President Obama claiming credit for an improving economy and defiantly telling his Republican adversaries in Congress to "turn the page" by supporting an expensive domestic agenda aimed at improving the fortunes of the middle class. They added that,

"Mr. Obama's plans -  which would offer free community college for millions of students, paid leave for workers and more generous government assistance for education, child care and retirement savings for the middle class -  are to be financed in large part by $320 billion in tax increases over the next decade on higher income earners as well as a fee on large financial institutions."

On oil prices

Sputnik News reported that Saudi King Salman announced on Friday that he would continue the political course of his predecessor, King Abdullah. The media added that,

"The market saw a 2.5 percent upsurge in the price of crude oil after the death of the king of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter. The country has refused to cut oil production despite falling prices and did not support the idea of OPEC curbing oil production to reverse the decline."

Team Niti Central winds up the week's international media roundup by mentioning about the report from Mark Kelly for The Wall Street Journal on the tensions rising in Leipzig due to protests against 'Islamization'. The media reports that,

"An estimated 10,000 people took part in a rally on Wednesday against the so - called ‘Islamization of the West' in Germany. It was held by Legida, the Leipzig offshoot of Dresden's Pegida".

 

Courtesy Niti Cenmtral

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