George Bush is going to India. But he’s not going to waste his precious time on “sightseeing.” This is a characteristically penny wise but pound foolish decision. “Sightseeing” is a denigration of what's really just a courteous gesture by official visitors. Look at it this way: politics is ephemeral, but culture endures---and respect never goes out of style.
Wise international players know they can’t become experts on every culture they have to deal with. That’s why they consult specialists, and everyone knows they do. But when in Rome, sensible VIPs at least pretend to take an interest in Rome. That satisfies the minimum for civilized behavior.
So far as India is concerned, a trip to Agra kills half a day or less, by air, but shows appreciation. A little of that can have a certain facilitative effect should negotiations get tough.
And they may. Even during the bad old days of the abysmal “Hindu rate of growth,” Indians did not suffer from a noticeable inferiority complex. Now the Indians want access to non-military nuclear technology, and they want it badly, but that doesn’t put Bush in an especially strong position. At this point he’s a wounded President. His poll numbers keep plunging, and he can’t afford a botched summit. He may have to give more than he wants to get the appearance of success, and Indian sources are hinting that no deal will be finalized during the visit.