Decoding ‘unpredictable’ Trump’s India policy will be Modi’s biggest challenge in US

A public validation of the India-US strategic partnership by Trump would be important


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with US President Donald Trump will provide the first real indication of where US policy on India is headed under the new administration and whether progress is guaranteed or dubious.

It might be one of Modi’s most challenging meetings with a foreign leader, whose election came as a surprise to world leaders, throwing old calculations about US leadership off while making the evolution of a multipolar world a near certainty. Trump is focused inward and it is unlikely he would become an internationalist any time soon.

Modi will have to assess whether Indo-US relations will remain upwardly mobile and stay on the trajectory set by former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, or if ties will plateau in the short term under Trump. That India has not indulged in ostentatious criticism of the US president is a plus.| economy news

Modi moved India closer towards the US during the Obama administration, issuing a joint vision statement on the Indo-Pacific and declaring that the two democracies had overcome the “hesitations of history”. The oft-cited phrase may still hold true but to what extent is the question.

economy policy| A public validation of the India-US strategic partnership by Trump would be important. Trump’s unpredictability has sent India back to the hedging table, reinvigorating old friendships and exploring new ones. It can be argued that Modi’s recent visits to Germany, France and Russia, and his determined outreach to Japan represent a new version of India’s old strategy of diversification, albeit with renewed determination. Modi will visit Israel next month in the first ever prime ministerial trip and abandon another hesitation of history, as it were.

As India repositions itself and adjusts to new realities, the relationship with the US remains key for both strategic and economic reasons, and the convergence of interest is unlikely to disappear. The US is an important trade partner, an attractive destination for Indian students and a source of high technology, even if demanding in the process.

“The best outcome of the meeting? Trump sees investing in India as good for his interests and for the US national interest,” said Ashley J. Tellis, a prominent strategic expert who has advised former presidents on South Asia. “Asian security and China’s rise were big issues for Bush and Obama and India enjoyed a pride of place in their calculations.”





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