BY | January 18, 2013

By Arun Kumar

Washington, (IANS) As President Barack Obama works on his “big part of my plans” for India in his second term, an influential US think tank has made four concrete proposals to advance their shared priorities, including pitching for a second presidential visit to India.

There is a growing consensus in Washington and New Delhi that the most fruitful areas to deepen the US-India partnership reside in economic and trade relations, security and defence ties, and collaboration on regional challenges, according to the Centre for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

With this in mind, it has proposed the establishment of a detailed “New Framework for US-India Economic Cooperation;” the launching of a US-India Job Creation and Skills Building initiative; the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on defence coproduction; and the pursuit of a six-power regional initiative for Afghanistan.

In a piece entitled, “Obama’s Second Term: ‘India is a big part of my plans,’” Karl F. Inderfurth, Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies at CSIS, has suggested that one other part of Obama’s second term “plans” should be a second visit to India.

I would be “an opportunity to build on his successful visit of November 2010 and to mark a historic first in US-India relations: the first time an American president has travelled to India twice while in office,” he wrote in the January issue of US-India Insight, a CSIS newsletter.

Inderfurth, a former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, noted that throughout the past year, high-ranking US administration officials continued to use superlatives to describe the relationship they envisioned for the United States and India.

Most recently, Obama himself told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia: “India is a big part of my plans” for his second term, he recalled.

Inderfurth also noted that the US National Intelligence Council in its latest long-range global forecast had predicted that “In 2030 India could be the rising economic powerhouse that China is seen to be today.”

But as the NIC report and other publications point out, for India to maximize its advantages, it will have to address three major challenges – education, corruption, and infrastructure.

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