Modi, Obama raise the bar for bilateral ties in joint oped

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2014 13:35 IST

India and the US will broaden and deepen their ties by going beyond “modest and conventional goals”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama in a joint oped.

The article appeared online first Tuesday morning, at, in line perhaps with the two leaders’ love of the new medium, just hours before formal talks.

Work on the oped began days ago, but it was finalised shortly before the two leaders met for the first time over dinner Monday night, joined on both sides by select senior officials.

Ahead of the dinner, the two countries released a vision statement called, “Chalein saath, saath: Forward Together We Go”, to fashion a model relationship for the rest of the world.

The vision document created a buzz among India watchers in Washington DC immediately. Some congressional staff members tweeted, “Wow”, “bold move”.

Read: Ahead of talks Modi, Obama say 'Chalein saath saath'

Picking up from the vision statement, the joint oped, a first in the history of India-US relations, said, “It is time to set a new agenda, one that realises concrete benefits for our citizens.”

“This will be an agenda that enables us to find mutually rewarding ways to expand our collaboration in trade, investment and technology that harmonize with India’s ambitious development agenda, while sustaining the United States as the global engine of growth.”

The oped sets the scene for the talks as much as it gives a glimpse into the thinking of the two leaders, who, clearly want to take the relationship to a new level.

A new government in Delhi is an opportunity. “The advent of a new government in India is a natural opportunity to broaden and deepen our relationship,” the leaders said.

Among the areas of focus, the oped indicated, would be the prime minister’s “Clean India” drive, leveraging “private and civil society innovation, expertise and technology”.

But the two countries are looking beyond their own interest. The region and the world will “benefit from the greater stability and security that our friendship creates”.

“We remain committed to the larger effort to integrate South Asia and connect it with markets and people in Central and Southeast Asia, the leaders wrote.

“The promise of a better tomorrow is not solely for Indians and Americans: It also beckons us to move forward together for a better world. This is the central premise of our defining partnership for the 21st century. Forward together we go — ‘chalein saath saath’”.

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