India banking on US ties
In fact, Trump wants that Improved US-Russia relations should lead President Putin also to be more independent of China in the coming days and Trump also is looking for loosening of ties between Russia and China in the coming days to the benefit of USA. In fact, a section of the foreign ministry in India believes that Trump might be quite unconventional in his foreign policy and he can recommend phased withdrawal of US support from NATO. The new secretary of state does not highly rate the NATO-US relationship and he is of the view that Europe should fend for itself. That way things are very uncertain for international situation and it will not be a conventional US foreign policy as pursued in the last two decades.
As regards impact on India, the foreign ministry is looking at the prospect of Trump taking a stronger position against the Islamic terrorists and in the process recommending harder measures against Pakistan. Indian Govt will also make use of the close relationship between Trump and the Hindu Republicans to persuade Trump to take a more pro-India policy vis a vis Pakistan. But since both Trump and Tillerson are business people, Indian policy makers feel that the Indian market with its exponential growth and immense opportunities for American companies can act as a big attraction for the new US establishment and that may be projected by India as a carrot to new US govt for bringing them closer to India as against Pakistan. India is however worried about Trump’s future policy on Afghanistan. India has to be involved in the settlement following post US withdrawal Afghanistan since India has a big stake in the future shape of govt in Afghanistan. Trump’s position is not yet clear on this issue.
Donald Trump has appointed James Mattis, a former general who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan as the Secretary of Defence. Mattis has been a severe critic of Obama’s policy on Middle East and he wants to intensify fight against the jehadis. Here the issue for the Indian foreign ministry is that Pakistan, may not be liked by India but Pakistan is in the battle against jehadis and Pakistan has borne the brunt of the talibans and the other jehadis. Can Pakistan acquire a more important position in the scheme of Mattis in West Asia. Also the issue is whether Trump with his improved ties with Putin can help in building a more cohesive front against ISIS and that will completely change the scenario in Iraq and Syria and also the relationship between US and its European allies. That way, things are in a flux and the Indian government is watching the developments
For Indian policymakers- two issues are very important-attitude of the new Trump administration on China and Pakistan. Narendra Modi Government is happy in dealing with China on its own and the relations in trade and investment have vastly improved. President Obama took a tough stand on China on South China Sea issue this year but overall, China did not yield any ground to USA in global politics. In fact China gained ground in the Asian geopolitics. Trump’s newly appointed Ambassador Terry Branstad is known as pro-China. So that way though Trump is talking tough about China in public, his main man to deal with China is a person who is liked by the Chinese leadership. Branstad knows Chinese President well and the Indian foreign policy makers believe that Trump after taking over, will change his tone and facilitate further business relations with China. In the initial period, he might be taking a tough stand but with the passing of time, his views will be diluted and Branstad will act as a facilitator for establishing rapport between Trump and Xi Jinping. Trump will certainly bargain hard with China both on trade and political issues but both Governments know that their stable relationship benefits both economies and any sudden downslide at this stage will be adversely affecting both. That way, despite irritants, US-China relationship may not turn confrontationist, though the differences will remain.
Come January 20. The entire world including India will watch with deep interest what president Trump Finally starts implementing. (IPA/Concluded)