Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent five hours in the White House on Sunday. The PM held one-on-one meeting with American President Donald Trump for twenty minutes. Later, representatives of the two sides held a separate meeting to discuss different aspects of bilateral ties. The Indian government claimed that Modi’s visit was a successful one as he attacked both Pakistan and China from the White House and managed to win the US support for India’s war against terrorism.
However, senior Indian diplomats are not at all happy with the outcomes of Modi’s visit. According to diplomats, the PM failed to raise important issues, like the H-1B visa and Paris climate deal, during his meeting with the American president. They believe Modi is returning home empty-handed. On Tuesday, former Indian Foreign Secretary and distinguished career diplomat Kanwal Sibal said that there would be no change in the American mindset about India even after the Modi-Trump meeting.
Some senior Indian officials, too, opine that PM Modi has (unnecessarily) given a great importance to terrorism, Pakistan and China during his meeting with Trump. According to them, President Trump is well aware of Pakistan and China’s activities. So, the Indian premier might have made a mistake by discussing the same old issue with him. Former Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that New Delhi’s relationships with its neighbours are bilateral issues. So, there’s no point in complaining, he told the press.
It’s a fact that the Trump administration agreed with India’s concerns over the creation of a silk route through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). But, diplomats, like Shivshankar Menon, think that ties with China are not the only burning issue as far as the Indian foreign policy is concerned. Others believe that New Delhi’s importance to America will increase, if India maintains cordial ties with China. On the contrary, healthy Indo-American ties will increase pressure on China. In fact, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s strategy to diplomatically attack China will increase India’s dependency on America.
The implementation of the civil nuclear deal between India and the US has been delayed for a long time. But, business dealings did not get much importance in the three-page joint statement issued by New Delhi and Washington. The ongoing peace process in the Asia-Pacific, North Korea and Afghanistan also found their places in the joint statement. The Indian government claimed that Modi’s success lies in attacking China over the South China Sea dispute from the White House. Although former President Barack Obama was enthusiastic about the South China Sea, Trump has no interest in it. So, the joint statement is meaningless.
Diplomats, like Ranen Sen or Shyam Saran, have not said anything openly, but they have warned the Indian government about America’s ‘Pakistan policy’. President Trump’s defence secretary and national security adviser are former Army personnel and Pakistan is still receiving defence support from America. After the PM’s visit to the US, Indian foreign policy experts are saying that PM Modi is concentrating only on Pakistan and China, instead of focusing on broader foreign policy agenda.
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