President Donald Trump is on his first visit to India today. His biggest rally this time around will not be in the United States, but in a cricket stadium in Gujarat, a state in Western India. And if the reports are to be believed, th first Trump visit to India is expected to have a huge crowd.
The president himself has proclaimed that he expects a 7 to 10 million strong crowd to welcome him on his first Trump visit to India. That would be a slightly overestimated figure, given the 8 million population of the city and the capacity of the stadium which stands at 110,000, this is a rally that should be a key for Trump who wants to develop trade associations with India.
The Rally in Ahmedabad, the hometown the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a sort of reciprocation for a similar event held in Texas last year to commemorate the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to the US. Just the way the rally in Texas was called “Howdy Modi”, the event in India is labelled “Namaste Trump”.
Trump has improved the Indo-US relationsWell,
Well, India has a very major role to play in the Asia policy that the US government follows. The growing importance that the Trump administration has been putting on India is evident from the fact that it recently renamed its Pacific Command the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
In fact, India is even more important for the US as it has been trying over time to counterweigh China. In an attempt in that direction, the US is working towards forging a trade deal with India. With a nationalist leader at the helm in New Delhi, this can both be an easy and a tough task.
Worries in the face of Trump visit to India
Well, notwithstanding the goodwill gestures, the Indo – US relations have their own plus and minus points. Thee have been a few things that either of the countries can’t bring to the fore for obvious reasons.
Tensions between India and Pakistan
Though the US may not claim it in a public domain, Pakistan has always been a natural ally for the country. The terrorist attack on an Indian military convoy in Kashmir can be a case in point. India retaliated with its airstrikes to destroy the terrorist training camps in Pakistani territory, while Pakistan brought down a pilot and captured him. However, the pressure mounted on it was instrumental in returning the captive pilot unharmed.
Though the US appeared to stand with India’s need to retaliate because of the public opinion swayed in that direction, but still, there have been worries in the administration about the escalating tensions between the two countries.
US -Pakistan relations irk India
India has always maintained that the US aid and funds to Pakistan have been the major reason for Pakistan indulging in the kind of activities it is being blamed for. In fact, the Pak – US relations have always been an Achilles heel for the Indian policy makers.
Frequent meetings between the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Trump have considerably increased over the past few months, with the President claiming that the relations with Pakistan have considerably improved.
The US administration has also been a little taken aback with India’s success in isolating Pakistan in the International forums. The recent change of status in the Indian State of Kashmir with the abrogation of Article 370 has been one of the issues that have created tensions in the US Congress.
Along with that, the recent citizenship law has been yet another bone of contention for the US administration even when they do not want to be in the bad books of the Indian policymakers and the public there.
May we expect any big announcements?
Well, we would expect the above major issues and concerns are likely to come up in the discussion between Modi and Trump. Barring the Pakistan concern, Indo-US trade barriers may also be discussed.
Yet another area that may come up for discussion would be the energy sector. We would also expect a few talks on national defense and security.
As such, there is no clear indication of any huge announcements or declarations being made. The two countries do have a few concerns that need to be addressed. However, they do seem to have a goal and can perhaps align in due course after several rounds of talks. the first Trump visit to India will perhaps be the key to it.