So, India will now be dealing with a post-George W Bush American administration. Barring a few screeching voices, it was never in doubt that over the last two terms of the American presidency — especially during the second one — the White House had seen the most India-friendly President it has ever had. New Delhi, on its part, in a mixture of pragmatism and courage, had reciprocated the gesture. With a Barack Obama-led Democrat administration getting ready to take office, there will be a time — after the euphoria over a historic occasion having taken place in Washington subsides — when business will have to be done ‘as usual’ between the largest democracy and the most powerful democracy in the world. Does the departure of Mr Bush change the amplitude of India-US ties? The answer is a resounding no for two significant reasons.
One, Mr Obama is a man who is clear about America’s needs and the way the world’s two rising economies, India and China, are connected to them. For reasons that lie far beyond political rhetoric and subjective opinion, India figures prominently in the ticking mind of America 2009 and after. The nervousness in India about Mr Obama’s early campaign utterings about protectionism in the context of outsourcing operations in India is unfounded. Such comments were made, one has to remember, during his jousts with fellow Democrat contender Hillary Clinton. Once that race was won, Mr Obama, an otherwise lucid speaker, has been significantly silent about “being Bangalored”. In any case, with the financial meltdown still lapping about within the shores of America, the US Congress is in no mood to turn insular.
The India-US nuclear deal, a product of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George Bush, too, is something that will remain a catalyst of greater, firmer ties between the two nations regardless of a ‘regime change’. In fact, with Mr Obama’s more multilateral approach in foreign affairs, India will find it domestically as well as internationally easier to firm up its genuinely blossoming relations with the US. Whoever is in power in New Delhi after the 2009 general elections in this country, India can — and must — eagerly look forward to doing business with President Obama.