A strong but ambiguous partnership : India-U.S. ties under Trump
India, which benefits from a strong strategic partnership with the U.S, has keenly approach towards New Delhi. Various representatives of the Indian foreign policy establishment, including former diplomats, experts and journalists, have formerly opined that Hilary Clinton as U.S. President would have significantly contributed to the cooperation and the strategic dialogue between India and the U.S. However, the surprise victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election did not alarm India. Trump’s pro-India stand during the election campaign, among other factors, sent encouraging signals to New Delhi. For instance, he praised the country and people of Indian origin in the U.S. during his campaign, saying he was a “great fan of the Hindu”, resulting in many people f Indian origin voting for him in the presidential election. Trump’s call to Prime Minister Narenda Modi further underscored his desire to enhance engagements with India. During the telephonic conversation, he described India as a “true friend” of the U.S. Donald Trump also expressed his willingness to maintain and reinforce the strategic partnership with India on several occasion, especially after Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s visit to the U.S. in June 2017. Both parties seemed to have reached a certain degree of consensus in terms of consolidating the strategic partnership, particularly with reference to bilateral defense trade, India’s commitment to the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy and to fight against terrorism. The appointment of Kenneth Juster – a strong supporter of India-U.S. ties – as U.S. Ambassador to India in November 2017 and the visit of Ivanka Trump and the U.S. Air Force Chief General David L. Goldfein to India in November 2017 and February 2018 respectively, further indicated Trump’s intention to consolidate U.S.-India relations.
- The reinforcement of the defense partnership, a first pillar to the U.S.-India relationship
- A continuity policy for the defense trade ?
- Maintaining the order in the Indo-Pacific region and the China factor
- Fighting terrorism
- Trade issues and mixed signals
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