Broad continuity in US-India ties a good sign for bilateral ties, says Dhruva Jaishankar
Washington DC [USA], Feb 24 (ANI): Donald Trump is the fourth consecutive US president to visit India since Bill Clinton's trip in 2000 and this demonstrates the broad continuity in the United States policy of bilateral ties between the two countries, according to foreign policy expert Dhruva Jaishankar.
"It is significant that the fourth US President in a row has seen the India relation important enough to take time to go to India. The fact that we have seen broad continuity on the India relationship is clearly a good sign for bilateral relations," Jaishankar, Director of the US Initiative at ORF told ANI in an interview hours before Donald Trump landed in India for a two-day visit beginning Monday.
India is looking forward to strengthen its strategic partnership with the US during Trump's visit with restricted and delegation-level talks likely to span bilateral, regional topics and global issues such as trade faciliation in the area of homeland security, intellectual property, counterterrorism and the India-Pacific region.
In recent years, India has increased purchases of military equipment from the US and forged closer defence cooperation with Washington.
In the light of this Jaishanker said "I think we can expect to see something on this visit on defence side."
"We have seen a large number of meetings at the working level and ministerial level. Over the last few months, there has been a substantive announcement at each of those meetings. Sometimes it is no longer at the summit level these meetings these big announcements take place."
Commenting on the stand-alone nature of Trump's visit, he said, "Earlier, India visit was always hyphenated with Pakistan. President Clinton went to both places and President Bush went to both places. We have seen a break in this pattern in the last ten years. Now India is treated on its own merit and Pakistan is treated on its merit."
On the significance of Trump's India visit in an election year, he said, "There is obviously domestic-political significance for President Trump to go. Clearly, he is hoping to appeal to his audience in the US. And possibly appeal to the Indian-American community who are not only voters but also donors in sizeable numbers."
Over the issue of a possible trade deal, Jaishankar said, "On the trade side, there is an expectation that there won't be trade agreement announced by looking at the people accompanying Trump. The absence of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is a clear signal in that regard."
Twenty years ago US President Bill Clinton visited India in 2000. This was followed by the visit of George H W Bush in the year 2006 and then Barack Obama came to India two times once in the year 2010 and then again in the year 2015.
With this being the first official visit of Trump to India focus will be on the pomp and hospitality.
"Focus will, of course, be on optics of President Trump's visit, particularly the major rally event in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and bilateral meetings that will take place in Delhi," Jaishankar said.
Accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, the US President will begin the nearly 36-hour-long trip with a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad followed by Trump's participation at the 'Namaste Trump' event where he will appear with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Motera Stadium in the city which has a capacity to seat over 100,000 people.
The Trumps will later visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal before departing for New Delhi. After a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Trumps will also pay a visit to Mahatma Gandhi's memorial Raj Ghat.
After talks between Trump and Modi at the Hyderabad House in the national capital on Tuesday afternoon, followed by an exchange of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries, the Trumps will depart for US post-meeting President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhawan. (ANI)