Barack Obama will host prime minister Naredra Modi on Tuesday during his fourth visit to US in two years. Many see it as the result of the warmth developed between the two leaders.
United States would like India to become a major power as a counter balance to China.
There are many other compelling reasons for India and US to find common cause in international affairs.
All may be true. But when Modi visits White House for the second time in two years it has nothing to do with unusual friendship developed between Obama, the New York Times said ahead of Modi’s visit to US.
Gardiner Harris, the White House correspondent of the daily draws on the political perspectives of the two leaders to suggest that there can’t be a warmth between them.
“There are few relationships between Obama and another world leader more unlikely than the one he has with Modi,” wrote Harris in the piece titled ‘President Obama and India’s Modi forge an unlikely friendship.’
“It is true that Obama and I have special relationship special wave length,” the article quotes Narendra Modi as saying in an interview to Wall Street Journal and went on to explain how unlikely the relationship between two leaders is.
“The nation’s first black president Obama has made protection of minorities centre pillar of his life. And he has argued that criticism and dissent are core tenets of democracy,” Harris writes and adds that Modi, by contrast spent “much of his life rising through the ranks of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh the paramilitary right wing organisation that campaigns forcefully for India’s majority.”
” Generally poorer and less educated, less than India’s Hindus, Muslims constitute 14 percent of the total population about the same proportion as Afro-Americans in the United States. In India, Modi’s reputation among Muslims could broadly be compared to that of a Southern segregationist from the 1950s,’ Harris says in the article.
Quoting Human Rights Watch report, the article also said the BJP government in India has “increasingly used the country’s broad and vague laws restricting free speech to stifle dissent”.
It also flagged the issue of shutting down non-governmental organisations, such as Greenpeace — a global aid group that has offices in over 40 countries.
Harris quotes Kanti Prasad Bajpai, professor of Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore “Modi is part of class of populist, electable, narcissist right wing autocrat whose appeal is that they pander to the majoritarian anger,” while “Obama is opposite to that so it is hard to see how close they can be.”
The newspaper, however, drew some “similarities that extend beyond political beliefs” between the two.
Both men rose from modest circumstances, had difficult relationships with their fathers and were widely considered transformational figures when elected.
“Modi’s humble origins, largely corruption-free government and intense focus on winning foreign investment are sharp breaks from his predecessor,” the item said.