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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.