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President Donald Trumps’s India visit

If there’s one thing everyone knows about President Donald Trump, it’s that he loves a captive
audience — the larger and more enthusiastic, the higher . this is often one among the various things he has in
common with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Next week, both of them will have an opportunity to
indulge their shared passion. Trump is to go to New Delhi and Modi’s home town of Ahmedabad —
and the president has said that he expects seven million people to greet him there, although Twitter
was swift to notice that that might be 80% of the city’s population, which is probably unlikely. What is
certain is that Modi and Trump will headline a rally opening Ahmedabad’s new cricket stadium, the
world’s largest, ahead of 125,000 people. Like most Americans, Trump could be a bit unsure
about what cricket is, but both leaders considered the last rally they attended together, in Houston
last year, a roaring success.
Aside from putting the 2 adulation-hungry politicians ahead of crowds, the policy goals of
Trump’s trip are unclear. Some in New Delhi hope that it’ll restore a touch of dynamism to the
relationship, as long as India’s stock in Washington isn’t very high at the instant . Modi’s embrace
of Trump has served to alienate many Democrats, including many of the contenders for the party’s
presidential nomination. But even some Republicans have expressed dismay at recent divisive
actions by Modi’s government. Recently, Senator Lindsey Graham and India’s secretary of state ,
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, had a strangely testy exchange at the Munich Security Conference
about Kashmir.
India’s status as a fast-growing large economy often serves to paper over such concerns, but
economic growth has cratered recently. Trade relations have also declined sharply, with Trump
saying that “we’re not treated alright by India, but I happen to love Prime Minister Modi tons .”
This month, the U.S. declared that India would not be treated as a developing country when
it involves trading rules, which is extremely bad news for Indian exporters. Any hope that a
reinvigorated trading relationship would emerge from the visit was dashed by Trump. The president
said that he was “saving the large trade deal for afterward .” actually , the U.S. Trade Representative
recently cancelled a visit to India because nothing was expected from it.
A lot has changed in only a couple of years. within the years after George W. Bush and Manmohan Singh
signed the Indo-U.S. nuclear agreement, which essentially formalized India’s status as a nuclear
power, a real sense of optimism about bilateral ties prevailed. But multiple recent
disappointments have caused these expectations to sour; there’s a replacement and cynical tone to how
the two capitals mention one another . therein context, any visit by an American president is sweet
news, albeit nothing comes of it — a minimum of it’ll keep the conversation going, and hope alive.
We should, in fact, expect a minimum of a touch forward movement, if only to satisfy both leaders’
demands permanently press. One little bit of excellent news would be if Westinghouse finally need to sell its
nuclear reactors to India. Policymakers in Washington have complained for a decade that Bush’s
big back India though the nuclear deal has not led to any payoff for U.S. companies; this might at
least set those concerns to rest. Another giant irritant — to Trump a minimum of — has been Indian tariffs
on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which are made in electorally crucial Wisconsin and
Pennsylvania. Indian officials have apparently promised to lower tariffs to “a single digit.” In spite of
severely strained defense budgets, India is additionally likely to shop for two differing types of military
helicopters from the U.S., at a combined cost of $3.4 billion. New Delhi a minimum of clearly wants to
show its desire for bilateral relations to be restored to some quite equilibrium.
It has bet big on Trump being the one that makes that happen. That wager could also be unwise;
Trump has made no secret of his skepticism about trade. In any case, India’s approach to the U.S.
has always been predicated on the idea that the connection can’t be merely
transactional. New Delhi’s policymakers think that, since India’s rise is within the U.S. interest, America
must be prepared to offer more to India than it’ll receive reciprocally . But this doesn’t sit easily with
Trump’s well-known disdain for America’s “unequal” strategic relationships. I’m unsure what percentage
stadiums filled with cheering crowds it might deem Trump to jettison that principle.

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