[Ip-health] Barack Obama's India visit: Both Indian & US officials scrambling to pin down deliverables

Elizabeth Rajasingh elizabeth.rajasingh at keionline.org
Wed Jan 14 11:16:47 PST 2015


"In diplomatic time, it is but a few minutes when dealing with highly
complex issues of intellectual property, agriculture, domestic content
requirements, nuclear liability law and defence collaboration. The gap on
IP remains, as it will, especially on pharmaceuticals."

Interesting comments on US-India IP relationship. Obama will be in India
later this month.

http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/letterfromwashington/barack-obamas-india-visit-both-indian-us-officials-scramblimg-to-pin-down-deliverables/

Barack Obama’s India visit: Both Indian & US officials scrambling to pin
down deliverables

Seema Sirohi
January 14, 2015

Hereas hoping that New Delhi has a good air day on January 26.

This Republic Day, India will cross a psychological barrier when it hosts
the American president as the chief guest for the parade. Barack Obama is
the first US president to receive and accept India’s A+++ invite.

It is hard to say who will gain more from the symbolism – an Obama
suffering a deficit in foreign policy successes or Narendra Modi, who has
shown extraordinary confidence walking the world stage.

In a manner, Modi has already clocked a gain. He invited Obama rather
quickly into their “friendship” and Obama accepted although only after a
hard look at the India story and the geopolitics surrounding it. It helps
that American business is once again keen – it can sense the enthusiasm of
others.

Obama can safely put the India visit on the positive side of his foreign
policy ledger, especially if he makes a surprise announcement that
indicates a new paradigm shift. Some US officials have hinted that the
president may leave a big bite to chew just as George Bush did with the
nuclear deal.

Nothing rankles the Democrats more than Indians going on and on about
George Bush and how he managed to craft a landmark nuclear deal with India
despite a mountain of objections. They try to claim credit for Bill Clinton
– it was he who thought differently about India, making it possible for
Bush to think and act further. Hmmm.

Obama wouldn’t want the visit to end up as a giant photo opportunity.
Officials on both sides are scrambling to pin down deliverables. US
officials have been living, breathing and dreaming India for the last week,
trying to organise “two weddings” one after the other – John Kerry’s visit
and then Obama’s a few days later.

The pressure to have “deliverables” is intense, especially because the
White House came back from Obama’s 2010 visit feeling it had been taken for
a ride.

Somewhat. An agreement on US agricultural exports fell through at the last
minute and as the USTR (US Trade Representative) tells it, it was all New
Delhi’s fault. Interestingly, Washington was abuzz last week that the White
House would announce a very short visit by Obama to Pakistan at the last
minute. The source of the rumour is unclear but it was persistent. Was the
idea to unnerve New Delhi that may be feeling a little too chuffed with
foreign policy successes?

More likely, some Obama officials wanted a tit for tat of sorts because
India allowed Sergey Aksyonov, the “prime minister” of the “Republic of
Crimea,” to be a part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s delegation and
attend the official banquet last month.

To be sure the White House was “angry” – a stage well beyond “concerned” –
and more so because it was not officially informed by New Delhi, even after
Putin’s clever manoeuver had been exposed. It soon became clear that Indian
diplomats themselves were caught by surprise just as everyone else and the
tempers subsided a bit.

Recent history only increases the pressure for Obama’s visit. The two sides
have poured over the September joint statement issued during Modi’s US
visit to see what they can claim as a success. The problem is time – only a
little more than three months have passed since the two leaders wrote their
vision statement of “chalein saath saath.”

In diplomatic time, it is but a few minutes when dealing with highly
complex issues of intellectual property, agriculture, domestic content
requirements, nuclear liability law and defence collaboration. The gap on
IP remains, as it will, especially on pharmaceuticals.

India and the United States come at it from opposite sides of the spectrum
and this twain shall have a hard time meeting. Differences over India’s
nuclear liability law, which the Americans see as unacceptable for business
are proving equally difficult to resolve.

That leaves defence – the only area to register steady progress. A new
defence framework agreement is reportedly ready which takes India and the
US into the next decade as strategic partners. It is likely to have far
reaching language, which would give the relationship a good Republic Day
lift.


----
Elizabeth Rajasingh
Perls Fellow, Knowledge Ecology International
1621 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009
*elizabeth.rajasingh at keionline.org <elizabeth.rajasingh at keionline.org>* |
 1-202-332-2670



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