Articles

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

In India on July 17, 2011 by P Grant

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is one of the most popular heads of state in the world. No where is he more celebrated than in the U. S.  The Indian Prime Minister has been the guest of honor at three arrival ceremonies and state dinners in the last decade.  Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all hosted Prime Minister Singh at the United State’s highly coveted Arrival Ceremony and State Dinner. In fact, he was President Obama’s first guest for an arrival ceremony and state dinner on Nov. 25, 2009.

As a member of the George W. Bush Administration, I had the opportunity to be on the White House South Lawn to officially welcome Prime Minister Singh and his wife, Gursharan, six years ago – July 18, 2005

Arrival Ceremony of Prime Minister of India

Despite these warm relationships and culinary extravaganzas, the two countries have not done enough to inform their citizens of the bottom line economic impact of  their collaborations.   One key way of doing this is through social media.  It’s vital to American interests to continue to strengthen our relationship with this emerging democracy – home to more than 1.2 billion people, many of whom speak English, are young and eager to buy American goods.  Once the partying is over, there is no better way to keep the conversation going than through social media.

Here are three areas where these countries are collaborating and social media could be key:

  • Take the Green Partnership, the clean energy and climate change agreement that was signed at Prime Minister Singh’s 2009 state visit.  It’s received almost no publicity even though achieving some successes.   Groups in the U. S. and India have called for the use of social media technology to make the Green Partnership more effective by creating a joint web platform to gather and make accessible information as well as facilitate the participation of more businesses.
  • Centers for Disease Control in the U. S. is working to establish a Regional Global Disease Detection Center in India, also signed at the 2009 visit.  What is the status of this collaboration?  How can American businesses help make this a reality?   A simple solution, The White House Website, http://www.whitehouse.gov. should update where we are in implementing these initiatives, linking back to the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, to find ways for U. S. and India colleges and universities to work together, was also signed at the 2009 State Visit.   Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is currently traveling in India, said there will be a Higher Education Summit Oct 13 in Washington DC.  Here is a perfect opportunity to engage citizens of all ages on Facebook, twitter, and through online conversations on the goals of this Summit. Reaching India’s 812 million mobile phone through the webless social network could be accomplished by partnering with Just Dial.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in India

One suggestion for improving transparency is to issue a “Report Card on the Obama/Singh State Visit 2009.”   The home page of the White House Website as well as the departments of State and Commerce could issue real-time updates and links for more information.  After all, if the White House can host a twitter town hall, timely information on a Website should be doable.

India is one friend the U. S. does not want to risk losing and documenting successes of past visits through the tools of social media can only enhance future cooperation and make the ties between the two countries even stronger.  And the invitations to dinner between  the U. S. and India should keep coming.

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2 Responses to “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?”

  1. This is a great improvement in terms of your focus on social media and bringing it into the main point of your post. Now your bottom line is clear – that India and the US have some strong aspects of partnership that have been underpublicized, and social media is a great way to solve that problem. The examples and ideas you share are good ideas for exactly how we might accomplish exactly that. The one suggestion here is that you might have researched and highlighted one case of this type of collaboration outside of the results of the 2009 Summit, however the post still works well without it.

    One other thing that you should continue to be careful of is unintentional overstatements. For example, when you say about Prime Minister Singh: “no where is he more celebrated than in the U. S.” – you take a point of view that could be easy for many people to disagree with who live in a country with strong ties to India as well. In this case, language speaking to the idea that he is “one of the most celebrated” is a much better and softer way of saying almost the same thing.

    Aside from this small pieces, this post is a great improvement and definitely headed in the right direction for the type of post and thinking that answers the challenge for the week, shares your point of view, and does it in a well reasoned way. (4)

    • Thank you. I appreciate your comments. I will try to keep on this track. I also received some other “likes” for this blog so it was great fun that people read it. Thanks again. Pamela Grant

      Sent from my iPhone

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