After the Bollywood style welcome in Ahmedabad, US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the entire gamut of India-US relations yesterday in Delhi. The joint statement that followed clearly reflected the strategic compartmentalizes between the two sides. There was convergence on fighting terror, the Quad and a free and open Indo-Pacific, and greater defense cooperation. The latter in fact saw the finalization of a $3 billion deal for India to acquire Apache and MH-60 Romeo military helicopters from the US- something that ought to satisfy Trump’s mercantilism instincts.
Trump’s hallmark move has been to clearly identify China as a strategic rival, while New Delhi has been overcoming its earlier hesitations about aligning with Western powers, particularly the US- as exemplified by its extensive purchases of American military equipment. All of this has pushed New Delhi and Washington closer, and forms the backdrop to Modi's announcement yesterday of a global strategic partnership between them. But where the India-US synergy is failing to deliver is on trade. That even a mini-trade deal could not be worked out during Trump's visit shows how far apart the two sides are on this issue.
Trump has also been instrumental in sabotaging the WTO system of multilateral trade, which means that countries staying out of bilateral trade agreements risk economic isolation and marginalization. India needs to participate in global value chains and export more to grow American technology and investments can play a key role here. India has withdrawn from RCEP, which makes it all the more imperative toconclude a bilateral free trade agreement with the US. America, too, must cut India some slack on this to cement the relationship and ensure that some core Indian concerns are met. Hopefully, such a trade agreement is around the corner.
You teach the children that nation is its soil. We children are telling you- nation means it is its people. All people should get their basic facilities. All of them should be able to avail their fundamental rights. Governments should take care of the people of these countries. Zindabad to everyone who serve the people.
Please join me in applauding Amulya's wonderful sentiments. How well a 19 year old girl has cut through today miasma of hate and suspicion to ask all countries to empower their people to assert their fundamental rights, and to wish long life zindabad for all those that do. Alas, she has, in effect, been figuratively lynched by a mob uninterested in hearing her, proving her guilt, or resisting the outrageous current fashion of calling all dissent treason. Here is what Amulya wrote in Kannada on Facebook on February 16, shortly before her arrest. Her friends say she sought to repeat these words at the rally but was shouted down and arrested.
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