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'PM's personal equation with Obama has helped us'

November 09, 2010 20:08 IST
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As part of a series of chats, which will help understand the significance and scope of US President Barack Obama's visit to India, diplomat and columnist T P Sreenivasan interacted with our readers on November 9.

In a 37-year-long diplomatic career, T P Sreenivasan was Indian Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia, Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2000-2004) and Governor for India at the International Atomic Energy Agency at a critical time.

Here's the chat transcript:

2174ahv asked, How practically possible is the achievement of an UNSC seat? I have already started hearing noises from other countries...

TPSREENIVASAN answers,  at 2010-11-09 18:14:54As Obama himself indicated, it will be some years before the council is reformed

valli asked, obama was talking of myanmar. what is it and what does it imply for INdia 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, On Myanmar, the US feels that India is not supporting the democratic forces. For us, it is a matter of doing business with a neighbour

ajaj asked, Is Obama visit a succesful one for India Business ?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, I think so. India inc is quite happy with the outcome of the visit

abdulrahimempowerment asked, Whether Indian leadership is happy after Obamas last speech at Parlaiment
TPSREENIVASAN answers, The speech was typical Obama-eloquent, forceful and clear. It gladdened everyone.

GS.Krishna asked, What hidden interest US has in Pakistan. Why they cannot influence the PAK army & ISI not to involvein India centric terrorism.

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Pakistan is the closest ally of the US in its battle against terroris. But this is short term. In the long term India has greater potential

GS.Krishna asked, What did India Achieve from the US President visit?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, The visit took the relations to a qualitatively higher level

ashok asked, If US does not support outsourcing then why india should not ban US products like pepsi, Coca-Cola, KFC and Domino pizza?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Outsourcing is determined by market forces. No Government can stop it as long as it is beneficial to the two parties involved

Balvinder asked, Dear Sir,my analysis says that the main objective behind US President's visit is to warn India of pakistan's plans & to do some homework on attack on Pakistan.what do you think.

TPSREENIVASAN answers, I do not think so. The President does not have to travel so far to give any such warning

vishwabandhubajpai asked, With problems Obama and his party facing at home,how tastefully or distastefully his visit is going to be rated at home so far common American outlook is concerned in general, for India now ,especially in wake of changed phase of diplomacy tilting US against Pak?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Obama is taking back 15 Billion dollars worth of business back home. His people should be happy

ragoo asked, Does Obama visit indicates that US strongly support to control Chinese domination??

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Th US may want to strengthen India as a counter to China. But we do not see it that way

Vaibhao asked, It´s not clear what´s Obama´s stand on H1B Visa ?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, He seems to retain the restrictions in order to protect the US economy. But once he sees the benefits, he may relent.

Namak Haram asked, When we look at 50 year history, we see US is no a friend of any country. Just see how they dumped Saddam Hussain, Taliban etc. Do you think we should trust US?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Trust, but verify. The US may have much to gain from its relationship with India. Mutuality of benefits determine relationships.

shanker asked, Why does any President's spouse accompany him/her? Is that not a waste of money? Afterall, all she did was dance with some local children and visit some old age homes/NGOs?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, The presence of the wife adds a personal touch. It is also customary for spouses to accompany heads of state. She made a very good impression in India

JaiHind asked, How do you think the Obama visit can impact the India-China policy . Thanks in Advance.

TPSREENIVASAN answers, We have our own policy towards China. It is good to have powerful friends, but that does not affect our attitude to China. We engage China directly to resolve outstanding issues

rajhyr asked, Is it possible for INDIA to retain Kashmir even though Mr. Obama said its an issue between India and Pakistan while China is indirectly [ofcourse now directly] taking part in Kashmir issue? 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Kashmir will remain part of India for all time to come. When we discuss Kashmir, we stress that terrorism should end. There is no other issue to be discussed

Dada asked, Obama's two grandstanding statements to the Indian parliament seem to have pleased both the ruling party and the opposition. But if you go a little deep and analyze both the statements, nothing significant comes out of it and both are just a rephrasing of America's earlier position. First, as far as UNSC seat is concerned, he just told that he welcomes India into UNSC as and when the reform happens ( no time frame mentioned) if India behaves in a responsible manner ( means India should support US in many issues rather than taking an independent stand) till then. Second, regarding the issue of terror emanating from Pakistan; he just said that it is unacceptable. He did not even mention the time frame to dismantle that terror infrastructure or what action he is going to take if Pakistan continues to support terror against India. Should India feel satisfied by these two show-off statements? What is your opinion? 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Obama was outlining his position, not ours. You should look at the Joint Statement to see the points on which we agree. But please note that even the diluted support he expressed for India's permanent membership was a great advance on the position it has held so far.

Maha asked, My Question : How come whole of America from ages . depending on china for even a small item used in daily life in China. Why not they start making stuff on there own and use or come in collabaration with a developing country like India , which might benefit both countries People and employing people from US and India , atleast in some making of items. My Point when the US is going to realize that they should not depend on China ...Period...As lon as they depend on every single item to sell in the market -- this would be the continiuing process. They (US ) wants to be monopoly selling the arms, crafts etc., how does this help a common man in India or a Below poverty living people in USA... 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, All countries pursue their own national interests, whether political or economic. We can attract American businesses to India only if we can provide the facilities they need. They are not doing charity, they are looking for profits

swaroopa asked, Sir Good evening, It is evident that US has been supporting Pakistani economy Post Bush period. Did Obama's visit have an impact on that? Could we redirect the support from Pakistan to us?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Pakistan cannot survive without US assistance. In our case, the US is seeking economic benefits from trade and commerce

Patriot asked, Does Obama also believe that by funding Pakistan they are diverting a lot of anger and focus of Pakistani terrorist towards India, thereby detracting them from focussing on attacks within USA? 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Funding Pakistan is for fighting terror. But Pakistan uses it for funding terrorism against India.Pakistan has no desire to attack the US.

nikunj asked, what do you feel about the controversy on the name of President's dog, "Khan"? 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Much ado about nothing. In the US, dogs are named after loved ones and so all Khans should feel happy

Ramesh asked, Would it really be a threat to Indian retail by importing US products? 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Importing US products does not affect our retail. But there is fear that foreign retail chains will affect small businesses here. But we cannot prevent the effects of globalisation

rangan asked, US is a declining economic force. Could India have taken a more firm position on trans border extremist issues inlieu of economic solidarity with US 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Indeed the US needs us. That is why Obama was very sensitive to our demands on technology denial and related issues.

goodman asked, Is obama serious what he said ?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, He is speaking on behalf of the US. he would be held responsible for what he says

dineshsingh2000 asked, Can we see drastic reduction in anti-outsourcing rhetoric in Republicans?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Republicans have not been critical of outsourcing. In fact, some of our old friends have come back to positions of power in the Congress.

Samit asked, Hello, Mr Srinivasan. Do you think the success of Obama's visit going to shut all the critics of Mr Manmohan Singh, who offen accuse him of a weak PM ?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, Criticism will continue. But he deserves praise for the way he is leading the nation. His personal equation with Obama has helped us.

shabbir asked, Dear Sir, Communist were seen sitting quietly in parliament, not clapping, what u make out of it.

TPSREENIVASAN answers, May be they did not applaud. But they did not boycott as the Forward Bloc did. We are a free country and we have freedom of expression

Patriot asked, Sir, Does being a member of UNSC mean that Indian troops can be asked/deployed anywhere in the world by UN?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, You dont have to be a member of the UNSC to contribute troops to the UN. India is the third largest contributor of troops to the UN. The first two are Pakistan and Bangladesh

Vaibhao asked, The backing for UNSC permanent seat for India is against the earlier stated policy of US in this regard, isn´t ?

TPSREENIVASAN answers, It is a change in policy. They are not really in favour of an expansion of the Security Council. But they realise that they cannot resist changes for too long. So they are adjusting their policy.But the expansion is still far away

Tushar asked, When we are taking about development,than whay not make obama visit the undeveloped places.i.e Dharawi. If he was made to visit such palces than atleast the gov could have taken some measures to develop Dharawi & we could have some ahead with the development. 

TPSREENIVASAN answers, We are not looking for charity. We have to have our own plans to develop our country and eradicate poverty.

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