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February 2, 2015
ASIA / PACIFIC
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 5
Obama, Modi declare era of ‘new trust’ in U.S.-India relations
PRESIDENTIAL VISIT. U.S. President Barack Obama, left, smiles
in the rain during his arrival for Republic Day in New Delhi, India. Obama
took in a grand display of Indian military hardware, marching bands, and
elaborately dressed camels at the event, becoming the first American
leader to be honored as chief guest at India’s annual Republic Day
festivities. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
By Julie Pace
The Associated Press
EW DELHI — President Barack Obama and
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared
an era of “new trust” in the often fraught
relationship between their nations when the U.S. leader
opened his three-day visit to New Delhi.
Standing side by side at the stately Hyderabad House,
Obama and Modi cited progress toward putting in place a
landmark civil nuclear agreement, as well as advances on
climate change and defense ties.
But from the start, the day was more about putting
their personal bond on display. Modi broke with protocol
and wrapped Obama in an enthusiastic hug after Obama
got off Air Force One.
Obama later told reporters that Modi’s “strong personal
commitment to the U.S.-India relationship gives us an
opportunity to further energize these efforts.”
Modi was as effusive. He called Obama by his first name
and said “the chemistry that has brought Barack and me
closer has also brought Washington and Delhi closer.”
The centerpiece of Obama’s visit was the annual
Republic Day festivities, which got underway on a foggy,
rain-soaked morning in New Delhi. The crowd erupted in
cheers as Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama,
emerged from his armored black limousine and took his
seat next to Modi on a viewing stand overlooking the
Republic Day marks the anniversary of India’s demo-
cratic constitution going into force. The parade, which
weaved its way past the imposing India Gate monument
and a memorial to the unknown soldier, is part Soviet-
style display of India’s military hardware and part
Macy’s-Thanksgiving-Day-type parade, with floats high-
lighting India’s cultural diversity.
Obama’s presence would have been unlikely only a few
Relations between the U.S. and India hit a low in 2013
after an Indian diplomat was arrested and strip-searched
in New York over allegations that she lied on visa forms to
bring her maid to the U.S. while paying the woman a
pittance. The official’s treatment caused outrage in New
Delhi, and India retaliated against U.S. diplomats.
The U.S. and India also were at an impasse over
implementing the civil nuclear agreement signed in 2008.
The U.S. insisted on tracking fissile material it supplied to
India. Also, Washington was frustrated by Indian legal
liability provisions that have discouraged U.S. companies
from capitalizing on new energy development in India
because of concerns about their legal responsibilities in
the event of a nuclear power plant accident
During the trip, Obama said he and Modi had reached a
“breakthrough understanding” on those areas of disagree-
ments. Details on an accord were sparse.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser,
said only that India “moved sufficiently on these issues to
give us assurances that the issues are resolved.” U.S.
Indonesia says diplomatic appeals
won’t stop drug executions
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia is sticking to its
policy of executing drug offenders, including foreigners,
and says the withdrawal of the Dutch and Brazil
ambassadors will not disturb its diplomatic ties with
Jakarta brushed aside appeals by foreign leaders and
executed six convicted drug traffickers last month. One
was an Indonesian woman and five were foreigners — a
Vietnamese woman and men from Brazil, Malawi,
Nigeria, and the Netherlands.
Foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir
repeated that the country is dealing with a drug
The nation of 250 million people has extremely strict
drug laws and often executes smugglers. More than 138
people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About a
third of them are foreigners.
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Monday, February 16, 2015.
ambassador Richard Verma said the agreement would not
require new legislation.
The U.S. and India also agreed to extend a 10-year
defense partnership deal and cooperate on the phasedown
of hydroflurocarbons, the greenhouse gasses used for
refrigeration and air conditioning.
Still, that was hardly the kind of sweeping climate
change agreement the U.S. ultimately has in mind with
India. The White House is hoping that the surprise deal
with China late last year setting ambitious targets for
cutting greenhouse gas emissions will influence India and
Modi, however, rejected comparisons with China.
“India is an independent country, and there is no pressure
on us from any country or any person,” he told reporters.
Obama arrived on a Sunday morning to a capital whose
normally bustling streets were empty. Police cleared
sidewalks as Obama’s motorcade sped to the presidential
palace for a welcome ceremony. Obama then visited a
memorial to the father of India’s independence
movement, Mohandas K. Gandhi.
Obama and Modi spent much of the afternoon in private
talks. They broke briefly for a stroll through the gardens of
Hyderabad House, the guest house where the leaders held
their discussions. Sitting down before cups of tea, both
men looked relaxed. They smiled and laughed often as
they chatted animatedly.
The president and first lady were hosted at a state
dinner featuring a dance performance by a cultural group
that performed during Obama’s 2010 visit to India.
Taking some of the luster off the trip, Obama cut his
time in India slightly short when he travelled to Saudi
Arabia to pay respects to the royal family following the
death of King Abdullah. To make the trip to Riyadh,
Obama scrapped plans to visit India’s famed white marble
Associated Press writer Muneeza Naqvi contributed to this report.