MODI, OBAMA LOOK AHEAD

U.S. President Barack Obama and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Oval Office at the White House. The two leaders have pledged to work to forge stronger ties.

WASHINGTON (TIP): India’s Prime Minister, after a hectic three days in New York, proceeded to Washington, September 29, to be with President Obama. The US president hosted a dinner for the visiting Prime Minister on Monday, September 29, in Washington and held official talks with the Indian leader on Tuesday, September 30.

Addressing the daily White House press briefing, on Wednesday, October 1, Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman told journalists, “The President was very pleased with the opportunity that he had to visit with Prime Minister Modi. It reflects that depth of the strong relationship between the United States and India that the two leaders were able to come together and discuss a broad array of topics. Each of those topics represents an area of important cooperation between our two countries.”

Ties between the two countries deteriorated last year after an Indian diplomat in the US was arrested over allegations of visa fraud and underpaying her Indian maid.

The US administration allowed her to leave the country after she was granted diplomatic immunity.

Modi and Obama appear to have made a fresh start in an attempt to bury old hatchets when they met for the first time over dinner on Monday in the East Wing of the White House.

The Times of India says both leaders looked prepared “to jettison all personal, bureaucratic, and diplomatic baggage to focus on elevating the overused expression of the underachieving ‘strategic partnership'”.

Apart from discussing issues related to terrorism, security and trade, the leaders highlighted the partnership between the two countries in a vision statement titled “Chalein Saath Saath” (Forward Together We Go) and a jointly written article in the Washington Post.

The Times of India says that the article “largely echoed the vision statement, which, while short of announcing a formal US-India alliance, is redolent of a transcendental partnership aimed at elevating the relationship to an even higher plane than it enjoys now”.

Some papers, however, feel that it remains to be seen if the initial camaraderie will result in a strong working relationship.

“The question now is whether the good vibes generated in the meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Obama translate into an excellent working relationship between the two leaders,” the Economic Times says.

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