From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much.
Mains level : Paper 2- India-US relations.
President Trump’s visit had the right optics. Attention must now turn to India-US priority areas.
What were the mutual gains and highlights of the visit?
- Security: Homeland Security is an American expression. For us to own it shows our concerns on cross-border sponsored terrorism.
- Nuclear technology: Our nuclear VVER power plant technologies are state of the art and of Russian and French design.
- Fast breeder: Good, but one more is better. We are well on the way to the fast breeder on the thorium route and these nuclear turbines are an essential step.
- Unlimited thorium: We don’t have much uranium but unlimited thorium, so in the long run, apart from solar, this is the energy future.
- Insurance obstacle resolved: Obviously, the insurance obstacle, as to who will bear the cost of insurance against disaster damage, which the Americans were raising earlier, has been resolved.
- We have to build nuclear power to provide the initial feedstock for the thorium-based reactors.
- No progress on trade pact: There are obviously differences between the two nations on the trade pact.
- There is “progress”, but otherwise, we don’t know the way forward. Since the event was Ahmedabad-based, Amul is invading America and dairying is real politics.
- US concerns over Kashmir issue: The US concern on Kashmir and minority rights is real.
- If the largest foreign office establishment in the world is raising issues through their chief, let’s not bury our head in the sand.
- Our defence minister expressing sadness at former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir being in detention was a gesture to the US President’s stand on pursuing solutions.
- The bipartisan foreign policy of India shifting: The Americans generally rally behind the President on foreign policy.
- We are more advanced now and have kicked a bipartisan approach to foreign affairs.
- Seven decades of a bipartisan policy are thrown away without a word in explanation.
Challenges to the rights in India
- Every right is tampered with. Your religion, your identity in a country that never questioned it, you name it, it’s in question.
- Multiple identity cards not accepted: The Aadhaar card, passport, ration card, election card are not enough. One office doesn’t accept another’s card, even if they carry the same information.
- A study on a ration card and election cards: A study funded by the Canadian IDRC showed the poor only keep under lock and key the ration and election cards. One saves them from starvation, the other gives them dignity. At least once every five years, the mightiest knock at their door. We must not destroy, we must build.
There are obviously differences between the two nations on the trade pact. But apart from trade, there are many areas the cooperation on which can benefit both the countries.