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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Strategic Shift as President Obama Attends Republic Day Parade at Delhi

President Obama will be attending the Republic Day parade on 26th January at Delhi. This is the first time I can ever recollect that a US President has attended a military parade as a chief guest in any third world nation. This shows that thee US has changed its priority in Asia.

During the days of Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi India was allied with the Soviet Russia ain in 1970 India also signed a 20 year defense pact with that country( Russia). At that time the USA put its eggs in the basket of Pakistan, which ultimately led to a great zero as Pakistan was racked by islamic fundamentalism and in many cases turned against the hand that fed it, the USA. India -USA relations  were at best lukewarm and sometimes frosty.

The situation began to shift in the 21st century, as China began to emerge as a credible threat to the USA. The USA needed a strong ally and none was available as Pakistan as a state had failed and was unreliable. India with a growing economy and a massive army ( 3rd largest in the world) was the obvious choice. The collapse of the Soviet Union also brought home to the Indian leadership, that a relationship with the USA would be a benefit.

The rise of the hardline Hindutva exponent the BJP, with Narendra Modi at the helm further accentuated the desire for a fresh strategic outlook. Narendra Modi impressed Obama and he readily agreed to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Military parade on 26th  January at Delhi. It is a first as no US President has ever attended a military parade in India. In fact I don't recollect any US President attending any similar function anywhere else. This visit is a feather in the cap of Modi, who at one stroke has established himself as a world leader.