The Modi-Trump meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet President Donald Trump on June 25. The meeting assumes importance for a number of reasons. First, Trump’s policy against outsourcing of jobs and stricter visa rules have had an adverse impact on India. Then there is the general ambiguity of Trump’s foreign policy, especially his policy towards India. Pakistan and China are two hostile neighbours. Pakistan has gradually moved away from the US and gravitated towards China, heightening India’s anxiety. China’s logistic build-up in Tibet vis-à-vis India is going on apace. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is another cause of concern. Added to this is the One Road One Belt (OBOR) Project that aims at establishing China’s economic dominance across the world. The CPEC has not only economic but also strategic implications for India.
The threat that India is facing from the China-Pakistan axis is real. Pakistan’s repeated violation of the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir and the stepping of the bid to infiltrate terrorists is creating a war-like situation. A war does not seem imminent but Pakistan’s constant provocations make it incumbent that India does not lower its guards. The big question before policy-makers in New Delhi is, what will be China’s stand in case of an Indo-Pak conflict? The flip side of this is that in such a situation what will the US do?  Will it stand by India if India has to fight a two-front war? Then there is the question of investment. India needs investment, massive doses of it. But the flow of investment is far below expectations.
The whole gamut of issues – from terrorism (sponsored both by Pakistan and the ISIS) to economic cooperation to strengthening India’s security – are expected to come up during the Modi-Trump discussions. Putting an Asian security architecture in place is assuming importance in the context of Chinese expansionism which threatens Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia as well. China is trying to isolate India on the CPEC issue. India cannot join it because doing so will amount to accepting the right of Pakistan over Pak-occupied Kashmir which India has always claimed to be an inalienable part of it. If the Washington meet enables the Prime Minister to read Trump’s mind and get an idea of his policy on India, Pakistan and China, it will be easier for Modi to take the necessary policy decisions. The China-Pakistan axis now poses a real danger to India.

Saturday, 17 June, 2017