Influenced by Modi, the new "Modbamaa"

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 02, 2015 07:42 hrs

The Foreign Policy magazine coined a new term - "Modbamaa" - to reflect "a budding bromance" between India and US, while the Los Angeles Times compared the US visits of Prime Minister Narendra and Pope.

And the media from the East Coast to West Coast took notice of how Modi commanded the attention of top tech CEOs vying with each other to seek stronger ties and investment in "potentially lucrative" India.

But all agreed that the India-US relationship was on an upward trajectory thanks to the personal chemistry between Modi and President Barack Obama.

"As the American and Indian publics warm toward one another, a head of state affinity may lead to stronger ties," wrote Bruce Stokes in the Foreign Policy noting what a difference 16 months since Modi's election have made in US-India relations.

"The spring 2014 election of Narendra Modi as India's prime minister has buoyed what had been an often fractious bilateral relationship with Washington," it said. And "this relationship is becoming one of Obama's closest international bonds."

"The US-India relationship is clearly on the rebound. The two publics have more positive views of each other and the nations' leaders appear to like each other," it said.

"The stage seems set for Washington and New Delhi to deepen their cooperation on a range of shared concerns,aA Foreign Policy said dubbing it: "Modbama: A Budding Bromance."

However, Carter Dougherty, also writing in Foreign Policy, noted that "Washington and New Delhi may be natural allies, but that doesn't mean that they see eye to eye on economic ties."

In fact, he suggested that trade was emerging as the "chief irritant in bilateral relations" and "creating a policy dilemma that will become only thornier with the continued rise of India and China."

Modi, Dougherty suggested, "may go down as the Indian leader who cemented a national strategy of hardheaded mercantilism, one protected by a close security relationship with the United States".

"The trick, on this trip by Modi and in the future, will be to convince US businesses that there are enough investment opportunities in India to trump complaints over trade policy and to keep Washington's eye on the fast-developing security ties between the countries," Foreign Policy wrote.

Taking into account India's strategic importance, it said, "Bilateral disputes over trade with New Delhi aren't worth fighting over."

Comparing the US trips of Pope Francis and Modi, the Los Angeles suggested they had very different visits to America

They both "landed in the US last week in overlapping visits. They each lead a billion people worldwide, and drew crowds, worship and controversy while here", Times said.

"There were tears, talk about climate change and the role of women," it said, but suggested "their itineraries shows some key differences".

For one, it noted, a group of protesters outside the SAP Centre in San Jose accused Modi of an "agenda of hate and greed".

According to reports, "one group even sent Mark Zuckerberg 250 bottles of hand sanitizer, each with the name of a person killed in the Gujarat riots of 2002, encouraging the Facebook chief to "wash your hands" after shaking Modi's".

But as USA Today and a host of other US publications noted "Silicon Valley has been only too happy to host Modi".

"India is the world's fastest-growing major economy, representing a potentially lucrative opportunity for US companies as smartphone and Internet access begins to spread," it said.