THE way peoples’ fortunes change suddenly is astonishing. Just a 100 days ago, the USA refused to give a Visa to Narendra Modi. Now by Sept. 25,Modi is in the USA as an honored guest. In fact Modi will be hosted by the US President Barack Obama. Who would have imagined barely a few months ago that Modi would be the Prime Minister or going to USA? Remember that prime minister Modi was denied a US visa for 12 years.
Prime Minister Modi had met the Prime Minister of Japan, the Prime Minister of Australia, the President of China and the President of Russia at the BRICs meeting in Brazil. The only important person in the world stage whom he has not met is President Barack Obama of the USA and this gap is being filled now.
The USA has many power centers and President Obama by himself cannot make concessions that India wants on the economic or strategic front. But the President of USA can create great optics for India and Modi on the world-stage. India does have a strategic wish list. India wants the USA to enhance security and stability in Afghanistan after it leaves that country. India wants the USA to also control Pakistan and the ISI. India might also be interested to know what the USA plans to do in South Asia to carefully measure up to the “rise of China”.
Nothing dramatic can be expected from the USA visit of Modi. But there will be incremental gains. The special treatment that Indian Prime Minister gets in the USA will noted such demands. Demonstrate that India is a superior country. Crores Though India might not rank as an equal of China, it will be worrisome to rivals that India is valued highly and that somewhere it fits into the American scheme of things.
India is also keen to get some economic concessions. We have Lakhs of Indians who work for short Periods in the USA in the IT sector. There are deductions from their pay. If some agreement can be made to allow this deduction to be refunded to Indians, it will be major gain. It will come to nearly a billion dollars per year.
Small agreements go a long way. It always takes time to get big things done. But if the Indian Prime Minister has correctly planned his trip, he should aim for some minor gains. In fact, these Minor gains will make a deep Impact on the Indian economy.
I would also have advised the Indian Prime Minister that he should give priority in his discussions with US President on making visas easier for Indians. This is a major employment avenue and has a multiple impact on India. A single job in USA in the IT sector creates positive spinoffs in India. The USA exports huge quantities of arms and Defence equipment to India. India should bargain for more work visas in return. There is no such effort. The Manmohan Singh government ignored such demands. One IT job in the USA is equivalent to 10 jobs in the Gulf in the semi-skilled sector.
Let us see whether Modi gets seemingly minor gains from his USA trip.They are more impact full on the lives of ordinary Indians.