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Wing Commander Puja Thakur is First Female Indian Armed Forces Guard of Honor Leader

In this interview with NDTV, Indian Air Force Wing Commander Puja Thakur graciously answers questions about leading the guard of honor that received US President Obama last week at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

This very short video is worth watching for a number of reasons.

1) Thakur was clearly unfazed by the event, and did not overstate her role despite its historic nature, while acknowledging the honor.

2) She is a well-spoken, smart and proud military officer who will no doubt inspire girls and women to join the armed forces.

3) In a nation where gang rapes dominate the headlines and women are marginalized on a daily basis, it is important to note the Indian society’s success stories in empowering women.

4) It was also a brilliant PR move on India’s part.  Thakur was very much noticed by the American president, who called her presence one of the highlights of his India trip.

Enjoy the video, and whatever your background may be, you may find inspiration in the possibilities for women in the new India, where a sexual revolution is very actively under way right now.  How very fitting that this major first took place in front of the United States president.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

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Kal Penn Explains Obama’s India Trip

This video is a quick preview of what happened during Obama’s trip to India.  We recommend it as a starting point.  We will be posting more videos and coverage of the eventful trip this week.

Obama & Modi: Burgeoning Bromance or Business Ass Usual ?

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This winter season we witness a whirlwind of promising activity in US-India government to government contact. All evidence indicates that this phenomenon is being led personally by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi as countless of their underlings have publicly announced.  Is there a bromance blooming as Obama prepares for his second India trip this month, as the first sitting US president to smell the Indian stench twice?  I have long argued that the governments’ cooperation is just one prong in the bilateral relationship, and not even the most important one.  However, when this goes well it is usually an indication that the relationship is on the right track, and poor diplomacy can certainly derail all the progress. Read the rest of this entry

Obama vs. Romney on India

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor.com.

There is a question that has taken on more and more meaning as India increases in importance on the world stage, while Indian-Americans are involved in American politics as never before.  Which candidate, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would be a better president on issues that are important to India and Indians?

Predictably, both candidates have kissed up to Indian-American donors and speak highly of India when given the opportunity.  Both claim that India is an important ally and friend to the United States.  Strikingly, neither candidate discussed India in the foreign policy debate this week.  In truth, it is difficult to accurately forecast the answer to this question based on past records and statements.  It’s also unclear how much influence a president can bring to bear on these issues.  But it’s worth speculating on. Read the rest of this entry

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