Foreign policy: Team Trump holds key

Tags: Policy

New Delhi hopes the new President will pump ties

America has delivered the verdict. Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States.

The election rhetoric is over and now the world nervously awaits how Trump will translate his radical remedies into practice.

How much of Trump’s “America first” approach going to actually reflect on his foreign policy remains buried in mystery but his utterances during the campaign run gave a clear indication of what to expect from the new Republican regime.

The India-US relations have been on the upswing ever since Bill Clinton revived the broken ties under prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the early 2000s. George Bush cemented the relations and Barack Obama turned the foundation into a well-defined structure.

New Delhi hopes that Trump will pump the ties on an upward trajectory.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed a similar sentiment in his congratulatory message. “We appreciate the friendship you have articulated towards India during your campaign,” tweeted Prime Minister Modi adding that he looks forward to working with him closely to take India-US ties to a new height.

Obama has left a legacy where the US had identified India as a major defence partner. Washington had opened doors for India to access even cutting edge defence technology.

The US is India’s fastest growing defence partner having bagged contracts worth $15 billion since 2007.

India has recently signed the bilateral Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that enables Indian and American forces to access each other’s bases for logistics support , refueling and replenishment.

How this agreement going to pan out now remains to be seen as Trump has strongly favoured isolationist foreign policy where American forces will not fight wars away from shores.

India, however, will welcome Trump’s strong position on terrorism and will hope that Washington will increase pressure on Pakistan to curb the menace. India has been working strongly towards global isolation of Pakistan on the issue of terrorism after the Uri attack. The attempts have received only partial success. The Obama administration’s balancing act rather than a strong rebuke of Pakistan had disappointed India. Trump has taken a tough position on Pakistan, which is a positive news for New Delhi.

The officials said that much of the foreign policy initiatives will depend on the kind of team Trump picks up.

There are indications that the US will re-visit ties with Russia.

Europe continues to be in a state of uncertainty as Trump views NATO with suspicion. How US ties with Europe, Russia or China are going to play for India remains to be seen. But India will welcome US and Russia closing their gaps as it has good relations with both. India is not a US ally in that sense but its status of a major defence partner is on par with the alliance country.

gautam.datt@mydigitalfc.com

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