India did not achieve much of Trump’s visit: analysis
The visit of the president of the United States (USA), Donald Trump, will be remembered for his extravagance, apart from the apparent chemistry between the two leaders. The visit also resulted in the improvement of the India-United States partnership at the level of a “Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership”. The $ 3 billion defense agreement saw the purchase of India Apache Y MH-60R helicopters: an agreement to benefit the US military establishment. UU. and improve our security environment.
Bilateral relations flourish only when both parties understand and sympathize with each other’s concerns. Let’s make a list of some of India’s concerns that the United States did not address: first, we expected a “large and comprehensive” trade agreement, a mutual benefit for both parties. That was not in perspective. Closing an agreement of this type by the end of the year seems very unlikely. Second, there was no progress on the pending issue of the H1B visa and a totalization agreement. Third, Trump no longer considers India as a developing country. This provides the justification for removing India from the list of countries benefited by the “Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)”, which allows a lower tariff for Indian products exported to the United States. Trump was not persuaded to revisit that issue.
Trump continues to repeat that India was the “country with the highest tariff” in the world and that the United States should be treated fairly. The US wish list UU. It includes reducing our rates and allowing access to the market for milk, dairy and meat products from the USA. UU. But our inability to obtain crude oil from Iran due to US sanctions. UU. It has charged us with an increase in costs to import US crude. UU. The president also expected greater investments from Indian companies in the United States and a greater supply of oil and gas to reduce the huge trade deficit.
In fact, none of our national concerns have been addressed by the United States. The president’s visit to the hurricanes was intended for his constituency of the local Indian diaspora to gain the support of a community that in the past leaned toward the Democrats. To say that the visit was extraordinary and that Modi is a “good man who is doing a fantastic job” means little when viewed from the perspective of our national interest.
From the perspective of India’s position in this part of the world and Trump’s support for the New Delhi position, the result was again less than desirable. In Pakistan, Trump reiterated his willingness to mediate in Kashmir, chose not to criticize Pakistan and said Prime Minister Imran Khan is his good friend. On the issue of terrorism sponsored by Pakistan in India, Trump said he couldn’t count on the US. UU. It will take no action over 8,000 miles. Clearly, the United States is not willing to take sides and India is left alone to deal with Pakistan in whatever way it chooses. While we believe we have the ability to punish Pakistan for any misadventures in India, Trump’s statement hardly reflects the warmth of the relationship between the two countries.
In fact, in all the actions of the United States before the visit of the president and during his stay, one had the feeling that “the United States first” is a national commitment and the friendship with India is conditioned to that. Given the fact that there is the possibility of an agreement between the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan, there was no clarity about the role of India. Given such an agreement, India’s position is likely to become even more vulnerable.
Trump gave a veiled warning with reference to the importance of a secure 5G wireless network. He called this network a technological tool “for freedom, progress, prosperity … where it could even be conceived as a conduit for repression and censorship.” We are aware that the US UU. He did not allow ZTE or Huwaei to participate in his 5G wireless network. Trump’s statement sought to guide our political prescriptions by implying a possible threat to India’s security if Huwaei or ZTE would have to establish the 5G network.
President Trump knows where the national interest of his country lies. He wants US troops to leave Afghanistan as quickly as possible to make it a topic of conversation in the next presidential elections. He has not committed on behalf of his administration to combat the growing Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region. He is also aware that India is not a vassal state, which will voluntarily subjugate its national interest by allowing large-scale U.S. naval presence in this part of the world. Trump wants the trade deficit to be reduced, for Indian tariffs to be lowered and for US products, especially agricultural products, to be accessible to Indian markets.
On top of that, Trump will fight to expand online networks of multinationals with deep American business interests. Electronic commerce is a new tool to capture one of the largest markets in the world. Has Trump moved an inch to sympathize with India’s national concerns? Chemistry between the two leaders is the only achievement of the government.
Kapil Sibal is a former cabinet minister of the Union
The opinions expressed are personal.