M A I N   N E W S

US media not too enthused by Modi visit
Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC

In stark comparison with the wall-to-wall coverage Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US has received in the Indian media, reports on his meeting with US President Barack Obama were tucked inside two prominent US dailies on Wednesday morning.

The New York Times ran its coverage of the White House meeting on Tuesday on page 4 of its Wednesday editions under the skeptical headline “For Obama and Indian leader, a friendly stroll if not a full embrace.”

The Washington Post, which also did not feature the meeting on its front page on Wednesday, reported to its readers in an inside story that “US, India reach deal on climate change measures.”

The Wall Street Journal, however, carried at the top of its front page a large photograph of Modi waving next to the Gandhi statue in Washington under the headline “Indian leader hails partnership with US”. A more detailed report was carried inside. The New York Times reported that the Modi-Obama meeting was “fraught with awkward undertones” and yielded “expressions of good will but little in the way of concrete deals.”

“But their talks yielded no resolutions to thorny disputes over taxes, trade and civilian nuclear energy cooperation that have divided the United States and India in recent years. And there was little sign that human rights — a particularly sensitive topic for Mr Modi, who has been accused of being complicit in deadly anti-Muslim riots — was a major item on the agenda,” the Times reported.

But the two-day meeting with Obama did produce “some agreements, including the renewal of a 10-year defense cooperation framework, a pact to cooperate on maritime security and several clean-energy initiatives,” the paper added.

The New York Times also ran a scathing editorial on Modi’s development agenda on Wednesday under the headline, "India's environment at risk." Hailing the Supreme Court's decision to order the government to scrap 214 coal mining concessions, the editorial said protests by local communities worried that big corporations are going to destroy the forests where they live have “greatly annoyed the government of PM Narendra Modi.”

“(The Modi government) has shown little tolerance for what it perceives as environmental interference with its development agenda,” it added. “The government is also seeking to undo a reformed Land Acquisition Act that was approved last year and requires fair compensation for and restoration of lands seized for development.”

"Mr Modi should heed the strong message from the courts that gutting environmental protection laws and demonizing citizen groups that raise legitimate concerns are no way to move the nation forward,” it added.

Over the weekend, Modi received a rockstar reception from the Indian-American community at Madison Square Garden in New York.





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