Obama’s ill-conceived warning
President Barak Obama’s intervention in the ongoing debate on the pace of reforms in India is unlikely to help the US big business achieve its objectives. It will at once create problems for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in forging a political consensus around such initiatives as opening the pension sector and permitting FDI in multi-brand retail.
The PTI interview with Obama has to be viewed in the backdrop of grim prognosis of the Indian economy, notably the declining investment climate, by rating agencies such as Standard and Poor and Moody besides the damning Time magazine profile of Singh whom it declared an “Underachiever”.
The propaganda smacked of a psy-war unleashed to goad policy into a direction that suited the US big business.
Nation States are within their rights to pursue their interests through such instrumentalities. The hint of the US game plan now in full play was hard to miss in a relatively sober article a few weeks ago in the Economist. It spoke of a shock treatment to end the Indian slumber.
What followed was the activism of rating agencies that had failed to see the 2008 fall of the highly rated global financial firm, Lehman brothers.
Be that as it may, the Americans can secure better their objectives and that of India, if they are really interested, by lobbying silently with political and business biggies rather than conducting themselves as modern-day Viceroys. They must know that no government that allows it self to be cajoled by a foreign power can actually deliver on major policy proposals, not especially a regime that’s beleaguered and fighting a crisis of credibility.