Obama in India

Print edition : December 17, 2010

WHILE it is true that President Barack Obama and his wife charmed Indians during their three-day visit, it is equally true that he had nothing much to offer to the country (Cover Story, December 3). It was clear that he came here primarily on a business trip to request Indians to invest their money in the U.S. to create jobs for unemployed Americans.

Obama had done his homework very well for, when it came to India's bid for a permanent Security Council seat, he played to the gallery by endorsing it but with certain conditions.

S. Balakrishnan Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

INDIANS expected great things from Obama's visit, so there is great disappointment now. The purpose of Obama's visit was business (profit for the U.S.) and a personal tour. Better India-U.S. relations are not possible unless the U.S. changes its pro-Pakistan policy.

The U.S. thinks that Pakistan will serve the U.S.' interests better than India. A few months ago, Obama sanctioned aid to Pakistan amounting to a staggering $3.16 billion. Pakistan will use this not to fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda but to wage a clandestine war against India while the U.S. remains a mute spectator. Obama may declare that the U.S. and India are indispensable partners against terrorism but will actually help a rogue country that sponsors cross-border terrorism. India should not consider Obama a great friend of India.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu Alappuzha, Kerala

IT has been our mindset since the British ruled us that if we do something good, we look to Western leaders for their approval. Despite getting a lot of jobs for Americans, the U.S. is not going to support India free of cost. What Obama said indirectly is more important for Indian policymakers than what he said directly.

Is it really in our favour to get close to a new friend, that is, the U.S. at the cost of the old ones such as Iran and Myanmar?

Sushil Kumar Aurangabad, Bihar

AS the American economy is in bad shape, Obama should tone down his criticism of the outsourcing industry. It would be in the interests of the U.S. to increase trade with developing economies such as India. Americans should accept that Indian professionals are talented and skilled and are contributing towards the growth of both the Indian and American economies.

Mahesh Kumar New Delhi

ALTHOUGH Obama has supported India's candidature for a permanent seat in the Security Council, it should be noted that he has not given any time frame and that, most importantly, the five permanent members are united in denying any members the veto they have.

With the U.S. economy in doldrums, Obama's visit was to drum up support for his country's armaments industry, which sells huge quantities of arms in the developing countries. India's independent foreign policy would be in jeopardy if its relationship with countries such as China and Iran is tailored to meet the U.S.' strategic interests.

OBAMA'S body language and the various speeches he made were more like those of a struggling CEO who wants to remain in control of the global market economy without adapting himself to the changing needs of the world community. History has proved that no matter who rules the U.S., its perception of global issues seldom changes.

The animosity and divisions now seen around the world are due to the wrong policies pursued by the U.S. from time to time. Obama has no concrete action plan to counter terrorism, reduce global warming or move towards nuclear disarmament.

Ettirankandath Krishnadas Palakkad, Kerala Microfinance

AS the article New loan sharks (December 3) rightly points out, self-help groups were initiated and promoted to collect and circulate funds amongst their members in times of need.

However, when private institutions enter this system, they naturally look to make profits. While even the exorbitant rate of interest charged (56 per cent) is lower than that charged by rural moneylenders, the country risks institutionalising a practice that strengthens the corporate- bureaucrat-politician nexus and exploits the rural population. The larger question that resurfaces is in which spheres should the government allow private players?

Aditya Eamesh New Delhi Ayodhya

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY endorse the Supreme Court advocate Rajeev Dhavan's well-argued comment that the verdict of the Allahabad High Court in the Ayodhya title suit was an example of panchayati justice in which legal questions were not answered (Seriously flawed, October 22).

It is sad to note the Bench went by the ASI's report and did not pay any attention to the detailed critique of the report by the eminent historian Irfan Habib.

M. Hashim Kidwai New Delhi ANNOUNCEMENT

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