US Media Focuses on Modi's Regional Ambitions

Published: 27th May 2014 11:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2014 11:48 AM   |  A+A-

WASHINGTON: As President Barack Obama vowed to work closely together with the new Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi "for years to come", the US media focused on "his regional ambitions".

Building bridges with a man the US had shunned for over a decade, Obama congratulated Modi and said the US looked "forward to working closely together with the new government to continue to strengthen and expand the US-India strategic partnership for years to come".

But the New York Times suggested that by inviting his counterparts from the seven other members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation at his swearing in, Modi had made "it into a showcase for his regional ambitions".

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's attendance at the ceremony hinted "that the two countries might revitalize a moribund peace process", it said in a news report on "signs of diplomacy" at the swearing in of "the son of a provincial tea seller".

From his unexpected move to invite the regional leaders at the risk of angering some Indian politicians, a "message had come across clearly that state leaders would no longer be allowed to drive India's foreign policy", the influential daily said.

"Getting India's economy growing at a faster clip will be a top priority for Modi who was propelled to power by voters who want better job opportunities, higher standards of living and a more efficient government," wrote the Wall Street Journal.

During his campaign, Modi, "the son of a tea seller" capitalised "on this desire for development by playing up his economic-management experience as chief minister of Gujarat, and softening his former public image as a hard-line Hindu nationalist", it said.

Credited for his pro-business approach as the Gujarat chief minister, Modi "has also raised expectations that his government will succeed in turning around India's slowing economy, generate more jobs and rein in soaring prices and deeply entrenched corruption", wrote CNN.

The Los Angeles Times said Modi offered "a new, more conservative government to a country thirsty for economic change".

It also found the swearing in ceremony notable for the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz "Sharif who reportedly ignored warnings from his own intelligence agency to attend".

The Foreign Policy Journal suggested that India should expand and strengthen the civil nuclear relationship with the US "for generating alternate sources of energy in the common geo-political ground scenario in Asia as well as boost the US-India defence relationship and military ties for greater inter-operability in counter-terrorism.

"Re-energizing the technology and innovation synergy between US and Indian private companies should be a priority," it said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at


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