Washington: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first trip to the US comes at a time when people of both countries continue to see each other in a largely positive light, according to a US think tank
While Madison Square Garden’s sold-out shows usually include headliners like Bruce Springsteen, Madonna or Arcade Fire, Sunday’s reception for Modi is expected to draw an equally massive crowd of nearly 20,000 Indian Americans, a research analyst at the Pew Research Centre noted.
In India, a majority of the public (55 percent) has a favourable view of the US, including 30 percent with a very positive outlook, according to a Pew Research survey conducted last spring. Only 16 percent see the US unfavourably, while 29 percent offer no opinion.
These high ratings are essentially unchanged from late last year, when 56 percent of the Indian public gave the US positive marks.
But this positive view is not shared equally among all groups in India, the survey found. Younger Indians, age 18-29, are more likely than those age 50 and older to see the US in a favorable light (59 percent v. 47 percent).
Higher educated people (65 percent) also view the US more positively than those with less education (47 percent). Men (59 percent) are more favourable to the US than women (49 percent), though 40 percent of women express no opinion.
And those with higher incomes (57 percent) are slightly more pro-American than lower income Indians (49 percent).
Americans return the positive feelings, with a majority (55 percent) expressing a favourable assessment of India, the survey noted.
This shows little change compared with the last time Americans were asked to rate India in 2009, when 56 percent saw the emerging Asian power favourably.
As with Indians’ views of the US, Americans’ regard for India differs by gender, income and education, Pew said.
Men (60 percent) and those who are better educated (59 percent) are more likely than women (51 percent) and those with less education (50 percent) to have a favourable view of India.
Higher income Americans (63 percent) also see India more positively, though about half with lower incomes (51 percent) share this sentiment.
The support that Indians and Americans voice for one another may reflect the ever-increasing importance of the Indian diaspora in the US and its involvement in American politics, Pew researcher Kat Devlin suggested.
The Indian American population now totals over 3 million people, most of whom are highly educated and earn above the median US household income, according to a 2012 Pew Research Centre report on the growing number of
Nearly nine-in-ten adult Indian Americans report being foreign-born, and roughly seven-in-ten (69 percent) have close family still in India. Of those with family remaining in India, about half (49 percent) still send money back on a regular basis, the survey noted.