The Big Picture: India’s World: Analysis of Modi-Trump meet
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump struck a common note on terrorism as they met for the first time at the White House recently. The two leaders vowed to fight against terrorism saying that it was their top most priority. Both countries also pledged to deepen security and defence cooperation. US cleared the sale of predator guardian drones to India which bills on US’s recognition of India as a major defence partner.
Some of the objectives covered include:
- Combatting terrorist threats: The major stress was laid on rooting out the safe havens of terrorists globally. If the two countries strengthen their cooperation, they can fight against groups including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and their affiliates. There were also discussions about new consultation mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations listing proposals, disrupt global recruitment efforts through better intelligence sharing and exchange of information on known and suspected terrorists for travel screening. The United States designated the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist which was appreciated by India.
- On Pakistan: Both countries called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. They also called on Pakistan to quickly bring to justice the culprits of the Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups.
- Promoting stability across the Indo-Pacific region: In accordance with the points outlined in the UN Charter, both India and US committed to a set of common principles for the region, according to which sovereignty and international law are respected and every country can prosper. Following issues were stressed upon to maintain peace and stability in the region:
- Reiterate the importance of respecting freedom of navigation, overflight, and commerce throughout the region
- Call upon all nations to resolve territorial and maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law
- Support bolstering regional economic connectivity through the transparent development of infrastructure and the use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment;
- Call on other nations in the region to adhere to these principles.
In this regard, India has been working to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan. Both the countries also condemned continued provocations by Korea, emphasizing that its destabilizing pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a threat to regional security and global peace.
- Increasing free and fair trade: US and India agreed to intensify their economic cooperation to make their nations stronger and citizens more prosperous. There is a need to further balance and expand trade relationships to remove obstacles in growth and ensure job creation. There was stress to increase commercial engagement in a manner that advances the principles of free and fair trade by:
- Expediting regulatory processes
- Ensuring that technology and innovation are appropriately fostered, valued, and protected
- Increasing market access in areas such as agriculture, information technology, and manufactured goods and services
- Strategic Convergence: US expressed strong support for India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. President Trump reaffirmed the support of the United States for India’s permanent membership on a reformed U.N. Security Council. Indian Prime Minister supported for the United States to join as an Observer in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. US and India look forward to working together on advanced defence equipment and technology.
- Energy Linkages: S. expressed its interest in exporting more natural gas, clean coal, and renewable resources and technologies to support India’s economic growth and inclusive development. Both the leaders looked forward to conclude contractual agreements between Westinghouse Electric Company and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India for six nuclear reactors in India and other related project financing.
However, something was being expected on issues like H1B visa and climate change which did not have much significance in the meet. Overall, it is expected that Prime Minister’s visit will strengthen ties between the United States and India and advance common interest of both the countries.