India has often complained that the US, under presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, was too focussed on quid pro quo in all their engagements. However, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi all set to visit Washington this month, even while the trip has not been announced officially, President Donald Trump makes his predecessors look like “philosopher-kings who dealt in abstractions like promoting democracy and mitigating climate change”, a column by C Raja Mohan said in Indian Express.
Mohan said that If India had earlier thought that both former presidents were too transactional, now the government has to come to terms with a president who is proud of his self-image as a deal-maker. He added, that adapting to Donald Trump will not be easy for the Indian system which has over the last two decades refused to be transactional in its approach to the United States. The governments of the past, have missed opportunities to “convert goodwill of two presidents into tangible gains”, he further adds in his column.
Elaborating his point, the columnist gave the example of the historic civil nuclear initiative offered by then Bush administration. India has spent years examining it. It also could not take full advantage of opportunities for defence cooperation with the US and its allies in the last few years. He further said that the inability to grab the opportunity created by Indian diplomacy “has long been a characteristic of India’s overall governance.
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In his column, Mohan also says that if the Narendra Modi Government wants to secure interests of the country it has to come out of the “internal inertia against transactional diplomacy”.
The columnist points out that, “Interest-based bargaining is at the heart of the dynamic interaction between sovereign states. This will now acquire greater salience, as Trump challenges America’s long-standing foreign policy assumptions and turns its traditional diplomacy inside out”.