1. PM Modi take note! Trump is not the solution to India’s Pakistan and China problem. Here’s why

PM Modi take note! Trump is not the solution to India’s Pakistan and China problem. Here’s why

Can India expect full US support in countering the rising threat from Pakistan and China? Not really!

By: | Published: January 25, 2017 4:47 PM
Modi Trump, Narendra Modi Trump, Narendra Modi Donald Trump Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump have spoken! And, it seems that we can all look forward to deeper Indo-US ties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump have spoken! And, it seems that we can all look forward to deeper Indo-US ties with both Modi and Trump inviting each other to their respective countries. According to PM Modi, Trump and he had a “warm conversation”. On his part Trump said that the US considers India as a “true friend and partner”.

That security in the region of South and Central Asia and the fight against terrorism featured in their first conversation after Trump assumed office would tend to indicate that the new US President is likely to be more supportive of India’s counter-terrorism measures against Pakistan. One would also hope that given his somewhat anti-China stance, Trump’s support would help India check China’s growing influence in the region. But is the equation really that simple? Can India expect full US support in countering the rising threat from Pakistan and China? Not really!

Pakistan – it’s complicated!

As Abhijnan Rej, Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation points out, Trump government does not have a united view on Pakistan. According to Rej, many people have “naive expectations” when it comes to Trump’s possible crackdown on Pakistan. “There are three things in my view that make the equation more complicated than it seems. For one, Trump has spoken to Nawaz Sharif which signals an openness to talking. Secondly, James Mattis, the new Secretary of Defence under the Trump government has in the past worked closely with Pakistani military and some of his recent remarks reveal his somewhat soft stance on Pakistan,” he cautions. “But, one factor that counters this is that the new security adviser to Trump, Michael Flynn, has an instinctive dislike for Islamic terrorism,” he tells FE Online.

“All in all, I believe that the Trump administration, which does not seem to have a united stance on Pakistan, is unlikely to be exceptionally different from earlier US governments. In that sense, India may be naive to expect that Trump will be antagonistic to Pakistan,” he believes.

But, the fact remains that Trump has asked the CIA to be ready for a war against ‘Islamic terrorism’. In this backdrop is it wrong to expect that Trump will not look too favourably towards Pakistan? No, says Sreeram Chaulia. The Dean of Jindal School of International Affairs and a renowned Strategic Affairs expert, Chaulia tells FE Online that India will benefit from Trump’s ‘blunt’ view. “With Donald trump as the US President, I expect greater convergence and deepening of Indo-US military and intelligence ties. I believe that US may increasingly marginalise Pakistan and take out terrorist groups. If India conducts any surgical strikes, then my view is that Trump is likely to welcome them rather than have a balanced stance,” he says.

Watch: Donald Trump’s full inaugural address

Chaulia feels that unlike his predecessor Obama, who used to walk the middle path, Trump will be blunt, especially given his remarks on eradicating Islamic terrorism.

China – it’s even more complicated!

Trump has been openly anti-China. If he acts on his words, then China would end up being even more hostile towards the US than currently. But how does India fit into the whole picture? On the geo-political front, India may take comfort from Trump’s open opposition of China, but when it comes to solving long-standing issues, experts believe that India will have to chart its own course with the neighbour.

Also read: US President’s first call to PM: Will Donald Trump-Narendra Modi bring ‘achche din’ for world

With respect to China, I think Trump will be neutral to net positive for India, says Rej of ORF. “He will be more aggressive on the South China Sea topic among a host of other issues. Given India’s growing concerns on China’s expansionist policies, this may bode well for us. So geo-politically, India may very well end up being a beneficiary,” he adds.

Chaulia is not so optimistic, though. “As far as China goes, I am not sure that Trump will help India’s cause. China is likely to be even more obstructionist and hostile towards the US now. In that sense, I believe that India will have to work at its own equation with the neighbouring country,” he concludes.

  1. N
    Nath
    Jan 25, 2017 at 1:05 pm
    MEDIA AND CRITIC ALWAYS FIND FAULT WITH MODI. WHAT THE CRITIC AND MEDIA WOULD DO IF THEY ARE PM. NOW AT LEAST WORLD LEADERS ARE RECOGNISING INDIA.
    Reply
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      Narendra M
      Jan 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm
      1. Both China and stan claim that they are all-weather friends. Our policy towards these neighbouring countries has therefore to be in recognition of the fact that both China & stan would never be our true friends. 2. China is a growing as an ugly economic super power, and has huge ambitions to make its presence felt as a world super-power. We see the true colours of China in China‘s expansionist initiatives in the South China Sea. 3. China feels no qualms if in the process of establishing its highly contestable right to exclusive access to the islands in the South China Sea, its neighbours and friendly nations are badly hurt. Vietnam, Indonesia and an have strongly objected to the Chinese South China Sea claims but as a super power with huge military strength China has reiterated its claims in the South China sea. Indeed even for the new American President China will offer a real test in diplomacy.
      Reply
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        NJ
        Jan 28, 2017 at 7:54 pm
        Narendra Modi is a Muslim man, Delhi govt is run by stan. Delhi is the problem, they are pushing that stani language Hindi in order to convert India into Islamic country. Its all the same. India need to revert back to Indian languages only and Islamists like BJP, Khangress, Narendra Modi and the other Hindian politicians should be boycotted.
        Reply
        1. R
          Ridwan
          Jan 25, 2017 at 11:45 pm
          "Michael Flynn, has an instinctive dislike for Islamic terrorism"Flynn hates ISIS more than anything, and loves Russia. His trouble with stan comes from its support of Taliban. However now that ISIS is on the stage, his good friend Russia sees Taliban as a bulwark against ISIS. Russia accepts this argument which stems from stan, and may influence US policy in Afghanistan and stan. This may give stan much more breathing room than you think, because the biggest fear in the White House is ISIS, not Taliban or stani.
          Reply
          1. R
            Ridwan
            Jan 25, 2017 at 11:46 pm
            Who brought up Modi? You bhakts clearly go on tirades without even knowing what you're angry at!
            Reply
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