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“We’re Not Treated Very Well By India”, Says President Trump Ahead Of His Visit

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U.S. President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump. Source: REUTERS

Now it’s breaking news that US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will visit India on February 24-25, according to the US White House official. This is President Trump’s first visit to India. He is the seventh US President to come on an official trip to India. Also, a US president’s foreign visit makes an international news headline. Therefore, experts have already started analyzing the US President’s visit to India with different perspectives. Here, I am, too, emphasizing US President’s visit within a political and economic perspective, and we will also take a quick look at the consequences of this visit.

Why Is The Visit Important?

The experts are making a lot of assumptions and dialogues on the geopolitical scenario and trade deals that might come out from Trump’s maiden trip to India.

Ahead of the President Trump’s visit to India, Rich Verma, vice chairman of the Asia Group and a former US envoy to India said, “Only six sitting US Presidents have visited India since India’s independence in 1947, so President Trump’s visit is important, timely and has the chance to open a new period in bilateral ties. “

“The visits of the last three US Presidents have celebrated not only our security and economic potential but also focused on our deeply held shared values, our commitment to democracy, to human rights, to diversity, to the rule of law and a more peaceful and open Indo-Pacific. This is the aspect of our partnership that makes it stand out and gives it a special significance,” he added.

“It’s essential to send a message to the region that India is a significant partner and the president values that,” Mukesh Aghi, the president of the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum, also stated to news agency PTI. “India has a role to play not only in its immediate neighbourhood but in making sure that the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region is part of the international global order”, he said.

Is There Any Political Context To Trump’s Visit?

Modi endorsing Trump in Houston a diplomatic faux pa?
Modi endorsing Trump in Houston during the event ‘Howdy Modi’.

The time chosen by White House for its president’s visit to India has a delightful meaning and politics behind it. Some experts have said that Trump’s India tour just ahead of US polls is not a trade strategy or a part of the foreign policy, it’s a part of the US election campaign. According to officials, US president will address people in Gujarat in an event, “Namastey Trump”, just like PM Modi’s “Howdy Modi” event in the US last year ahead of the general election in India.

Reports say that today, the Gujaratis have made their mark in all spheres in the US, from the power corridors of Washington DC to institutions like NASA and in circles of philanthropy and innovation. The US census data shows that Gujaratis —who account for 6% of the total population back home— form more than 20% of the American Indian community. They are primarily settled in places such as New York, New Jersey, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Washington, Dallas and Philadelphia.

Meanwhile,  Dhruva Jaishankar has also made an analysis published in Hindustan Times: ‘The political context of Donald Trump’s India visit’.  He wrote ,“Ahead of polls, he will seek to leverage the trip for political ends. India should stay focused on the wider agenda.”

Therefore, it has also been said that Trump’s visit to India has a US election flavor, and he likely to contest for a second tenure.

Intimation On Trump’s Visit

In an opinion published in Indian Express, Sanjay Baru remarked that Trump’s visit comes when a mutually beneficial framework of bilateral relationship stands disrupted. “To hide the lack of substance in the relationship the Trump visit will focus on hype and Prime Minister Modi has perfected the art of diplomacy as mass entertainment,” he said.

Also, Lalit K Jha pointed out in his article for Outlook India by taking the view of many experts that Trump’s India visit will be a delightful spectacle, utterly successful. By decoding the statement of Anish Goel, Senior Fellow at New America and former senior White House official, he wrote that Trump’s visit to India would be a political boon for both the leaders of India and the US. “India is one of the few countries where the President is quite popular. So he can expect a massive turnout for his rally in Ahmedabad. Similarly, the Prime Minister will most certainly get a boost in support from hosting the President,” Mr Goel said.

What’s The Importance Of PM Modi–President Trump Summit?

Earlier, India had invited Donald Trump to attend the Republic Day parade as the chief guest last year, but the US President could not come due to his busy schedule. Now, his maiden visit to India will provide an opportunity to strengthen the strategic partnership further and progress the bilateral ties between the two countries. From an economic and trade perspective, the core reason behind Trump’s visit is likely to be the finalization of a trade deal.

Indian PM Modi and USA President Donald Trump

The Ministry of External Affairs of India is also hopeful and said the global strategic partnership between India and the US is based on “trust, shared values, mutual respect and understanding” and is marked by warmth and friendship between the people of the two countries.

“The relationship has further evolved under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and President Trump, with significant progress in all areas, including trade, defence, counter-terrorism, energy, coordination on regional and global issues as well as people-to-people ties,” MEA said.

But, President Trump Raises Doubts On Big Trade Deals Just Ahead Of The Visit!

“We’re not treated very well by India, saving big trade deal for later”, President Trump speaks to media ahead of the visit. “Well, we can have a trade deal with India, but I’m really saving the big deal for later on,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to California.

As far as one knows, Keith Johnson’s fears have some obvious reasons. In an article titled, ‘Is Trump Putting U.S.-India Partnership at Risk Ahead of Visit?‘ published in Foreign Policy, he wrote that bargaining over tiny trade issues, experts worry the Trump administration could weaken efforts to make India a strategic partner.

“India and the United States hope to reach a limited trade agreement in time for U.S. President Donald Trump’s first visit to the country this month, but experts question whether the larger strategic relationship both sides have cultivated for more than a decade is being sacrificed to Trump’s niggling trade demands”, he added.

In the end, the relations between our governments have found a new momentum, getting its energy from the warm friendship between our leaders and bring the progress and development for the nation.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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