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Indo-US relationship with Obama coming to power

with Rajeev Gowda

Barack Obama's swearing in as the 44th president of the United States of America heralds a paradigm departure from the preceding Bush regime, not only in terms of ideology and foreign policy but also in terms of the US approach towards burning issues like terrorism, economic downturn and globalization, all of which will impact India significantly. In this interview with Dr. Rajeev Gowda, faculty in Economic and Social Sciences at IIM Bangalore and an eminent political enthusiast, we bring out the implications of Obama's policies on India on the political, social and economic planes.


While the arrival of Obama marks a sea change in the way the world eyes the US, it also heralds a change in the way the US would now see the world, particularly in its changing power dynamics and the rising clout of future economic powerhouses like India. Obama can ill afford to ignore India as a strategic partner, not only on the economic front but also in its war against terror. Though some of his policies might cause temporary setbacks, in the long run, it seems the change that Obama brings, will be for the better for India.


From the interview

"There is a lot that is going to keep India and US coming together and over the last decade we've seen the recognition of the Indian diaspora, many of whom are members of the Obama team and in that sense, we are going to see Obama continuing this relationship"
(On the course Indo-US relations will take in the post-Bush era)

"American foreign policy would be oriented towards ensuring that their economy keeps running. If India and China and the other BRIC economies are where the growth is happening, then you will see investment coming in, or coming back"
(On the FII/FDI potential of India in wake of the global economic downturn)

"He's reaching out...A lot of change can happen if psychology changes...if legitimacy comes from inspirational figures...just in his person(ality), he has the capacity to overturn the negativism of mistrust. That could be transformative."
(On arresting the downward spiral of US relations with the Islamic world)

"What we need is Pakistan to put more pressure to shut down the terror camps, to get the puppeteers of terror, who are based in Pakistan, to change their practices... America's evidently capable of doing that...something we hesitate to do."
(On the role of US in fostering better bilateral relations between India & Pakistan)

Industry and Academic Opinion

"I am happy to see Obama win as diversity is critical to world peace and US plays a big role in this. However, as a patriotic Indian, I worry that his stand on off shoring and inclination to push India to sign the CTBT may not be nice."

Amit Bhatia, Founder & CEO, Aspire India

"We should not worry about any ban on outsourcing, as it is just not going to happen. Obama might give incentives to job creation in America, but it should not have any adverse impact on Indian outsourcing industry."

Ganesh Natrajan, Chairman, NASSCOM

"I don't see Obama doing anything terribly drastic. I think he has enough on his plate; he has got a trillion-dollar bailout and probably got another trillion dollars coming on top of that."

Pramod Bhasin, CEO, Genpact India

"When Obama wins, don't cheer too loudly. It will be great to have a black US president. It would be even greater if he followed McCain's economic policies."

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Columnist, The Times of India


Dr. Rajeev Gowda is a Professor in the Economics and Social Sciences Area at IIM Bangalore. He has a B. A. from Bangalore University (St. Joseph's College), an M.A. in Economics from Fordham University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gowda has been an Olin Postdoctoral Fellow at the Law School (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining IIM, he was Associate Professor of Political Science and Research Fellow in Science and Public Policy at the University of Oklahoma.
Dr. Gowda's research interests focus on how people and societies make decisions about risk. Dr. Gowda has co-edited two books, "Judgments, Decisions, and Public Policy," and "Integrating Insurance and Risk Management for Hazardous Wastes." He has also contributed invited book chapters and published articles in various international journals. Dr. Gowda is also a Director of the General Insurance Corporation of India. Founder Secretary of the Karnataka Quiz Association, Dr. Gowda was national runner-up on BBC TV's Mastermind India quiz show in 2001.


Mr. Sanjay Kalra, Former CEO, Tech Mahindra

Sourav Mukherji, Associate Professor, on Knowledge Management in Indian Software Firms

Dr. Catherine Nickerson, Associate Editor, Journal of Business Communication (Sage)

Dr.Trilochan Sastry, Professor, IIM Bangalore

Dr. Padmini Srinivasan, Assistant Professor, IIM Bangalore

Dr.R. Srinivasan, Associate Professor, IIM Bangalore

Dr. Vijaya Marisetty, Associate Professor, IIM Bangalore

Dr. Rajeev Gowda, Professor, IIM Bangalore
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