US clears nuclear deal

  • Obama, Modi talk about chemistry
  • They pledge to take the relationship to the next level
  • Thanks Modi for Chai Pe Charcha
  • Greets Indians in Hindi, Pyar bhara namaskar
  • Off to Saudi after the parade on Monday

New Delhi, January 25: The chemistry between US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on display for everyone to see. Modi in his joint statement with Obama on Sunday afternoon, called his guest by first name, Barack, more than once. They announced the end of deadlock in the civil nuclear accord that was inked in 2008.

“Six years after we signed a bilateral agreement we are moving towards commercial viability” said Modi. The US has reportedly withdrawn the stipulation that it has a right to track the nuclear material it had supplied to India. New Delhi has been insisting that the clause is intrusive and cannot be accepted,

Obama thanked Modi for Chai Pe Charcha they had in Hyderabad House here. They talked in the garden while walking. He greeted Indians in Hindi saying, “Pyar bhara namaskar”.He said deepening ties with India has been the top foreign policy priority with the US. Modi played a perfect host when he poured tea in a cup and handed it over to Obama without breaking his conversation.

Obama on landing in Delhi a little before 10 am on Sunday with his wife Michelle was given a 21-gun salute at a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan where he was greeted by President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee and Prime Minister Modi. It is a great honour to be back in India, said President Obama. In a first of its kind, a woman officer of the India Air Force led the Guard of Honour.

Barack Obama visited Rajghat and planted a sapling after praying at Gandhi Samadhi by placing a wreath. Obama wil be the first US President to participate as a Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade. He is the first president of the US to visit India twice in his tenure. Both Obama and Modi hugged each other at the time of welcome and also after the joint media conference. Though a Lame-Duck president, Obama is likely to help in the election of Hillary Clinton as next president and he is going to be advising her on foreign policy options. He was his usual confident self. Answering a question from AP reporter, Obama spoke at length the difficulties in dealing with Russia and the latter’s role of intervention in Ukrain. Modi said the agreements between the US and China do not bother India which is an independent country. He, however, expressed concern over pollution generated in this part of the world.

Asked about the issues they discussed over a cup of tea (Chai Pe Charcha), both the leaders said they cannot disclose everything. What transpired between the two leaders would remain in the realm of speculation by knowledgeable diplomats and journalists. Jokingly, Obama said both of them discussed about their daily routine and it turned out that Modi was getting sleep for one hour less than he does.

Modi was the first to speak at the joint press conference. He spoke in English, though in Gujarati accent, in his inimitable style saying that the relationship between two countries does not depend on the commas and full stops in the agreements but on the chemistry the two leaders share between them. He said he and Barack talk on phone regularly, joking and laughing and they enjoy a very good personal relationship.

President Obama and his wife Michelle have attended the dinner hosted by President Mukherjee in which about 250 guests participated. After the Republic Day parade, they would leave for Raid to condone the death of the King of Saudi Arabia.

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