Obama has described the US relationship with India as the “defining partnership of the 21st century.”

It would be ungenerous not to appreciate Modi’s remarkable success in wooing the dominant power of the world so soon after taking over as the Prime Minister of India, knowing that only a few years back, he was an international pariah. It was quite a click of the imagination on his part to invite the US President as a special guest at the Indian Republic Day parade. Modi had earlier made his mark during his state visit to USA. A chemistry appears to have been developing between the two, both having humble backgrounds.

More important and meaningful factors, however, have been at work for the last two decades to bring the countries closer to each other. Recall President Clinton’s “Vision” speech in New Delhi, followed by Bush who forged US India civilian Nuclear deal, seeking to pull India into the big league despite it not having signed the NPT. Agreements were also signed for a ten year defence pact which included provision of state of the art military material and transfer of technology. No wonder the US has replaced Russia as the largest supplier of arms to India. Of course the China factor has remained a crucial consideration.

The New York Times has noted the beginning of a paradigm shift in India’s policy. India earlier had resisted American efforts “to forge a common front” against China. That “seems to be changing” and Modi is now “striking a new path”.

To grasp the depth and range of this new partnership, one has to have a close look at the Joint Statement issued after the Modi-Obama meetings. And what a Joint Statement spread over 59 paragraphs, it is!

A part of the last para reads: “The leaders reflected proudly on recent achievements and looked to work together to build a US-India partnership that is transformative for their two peoples and for the world.”

Some of the other significant parts of the J.S which will be of great interest to the readers are given below:

3. Noting that the multifaceted partnership between the United States and India is rooted in shared values of democracy and strong economic and people-to-people ties, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi elevated the bilateral relationship through their endorsement of a new India-U.S. Delhi Declaration of Friendship, which builds on their 30 September Vision Statement.

4. Recognizing the important role that both countries play in promoting peace, prosperity, stability and security in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, and noting that India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and the United States’ rebalance to Asia provide opportunities for India, the United States, and other Asia-Pacific countries to work closely to strengthen regional ties, the Leaders announced a Joint Strategic Vision to guide their engagement in the region.

5. They appreciated the focused action and accomplishments by both sides on the decisions taken during the Summit in September (which include, inter-alia the following:

-The signing of the MoU on 18 November 2014 between Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. and the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which would make available up to $1 billion in financing to facilitate expanded cooperation and enhance U.S. private sector investment in Indian clean energy projects.

-Convening the sixth round of the India-U.S.-Japan trilateral discussions to deepen regional engagement and to discuss ways to implement projects on the ground.

-The signing of a framework on and inauguration of the India-U.S. Investment Initiative in Washington on 12-15 January 2015 to jointly cooperate on facilitating capital market development conducive to financing investment.

-Convening of Indian and U.S. CEOs who are committed to deepening bilateral economic ties by identifying current impediments to trade and investment.

-India’s recent introduction of visa-on-arrival for U.S. citizens and the convening of the first technical discussions to advance India’s membership in the United States’ Global Entry Program, initiatives aimed at easing travel between India and the United States to further strengthen people-to-people ties.

-The finalization of the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship…..Continuing bilateral engagement on the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)… India’s rise is also in the interest of the United States, regional and global stability, and global economic growth.

36. The Leaders also acknowledged the need for the two-way defence engagement to include technology cooperation and collaboration, co-production and co-development.

41. The Leaders reaffirmed the need for joint and concerted efforts to disrupt entities such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company and the Haqqani Network….reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.

43. The Leaders welcomed the understandings reached on the issues of civil nuclear liability and administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, and looked forward to U.S.-built nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security at the earliest.

47. Reaffirming the importance of their strategic partnerships with Afghanistan…..and they agreed to convene further high-level consultations on Afghanistan in the near future.

51. The President reaffirmed the United States’ position that India meets MTCR requirements and is ready for NSG membership and that it supports India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.

56. President Obama reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.

It is clear from the contents of the Joint Statement that US is determined to build up a leading if not a dominant role for India, in the region and beyond particularly in the East. Washington is already engaged in strengthening India’s economy, defence apparatus and management including manufacturing capabilities of state-of-the-art weapons as also transfer of technology. The facility of supply of nuclear material and New Delhi’s involvement in strategic engagements along with Japan and Australia are indicative of larger responsibilities. The Statement does not hide the fact that India is to be helped to achieve a leading role in Afghanistan and further to the West across the Gulf. Similarly New Delhi has to be a part of the new strategies being evolved with the pivoting of US towards the Asia and Pacific. Maritime and airways control management is also to be shared.

The Joint Statement leaves little doubt that China is the ultimate challenge for which all kinds of initiatives are in hand.

As for Pakistan, it has been stated that India shall be the regional power and Islamabad better take care of sanctuaries, Haqqanis and other declared terrorist groups.

Although Pakistan should take the burgeoning US-India relationship in its stride as a fact of the changes happening in the 21st century, it, at the same time, has a cause for worry. While Sartaj Aziz’s reaction has to be read in the context of the India’s current belligerent behavior it will be wise to continue taking steps which bring credit for the country internationally especially in US.

We are in various fields weak and divided. Good leaders think of the country and larger national interests while pursuing their partisan goals. Media too has to exercise restraint. It has the right to be critical but let criticism be constructive and not destructive. That said, the incumbent government must pull itself to exert to the maximum, to resolve problems at top speed and be seen to be doing their best to put the house in order. Too much is at stake, Mian Sahib.