Modi’s Netanyahu-Trump card
Much has been said about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits – more than 60 since taking office. Once refused entry, he has now made multiple trips to the US and other western countries. On the contrary, he has taken more than three years to visit Israel, which welcomed him when he was CM of Gujarat. He may have gone earlier but the hesitation on the part of the old establishment and bureaucracy that was averse to breaking convention made him to wait. Israel and India have shared a strong and old strategic partnership, which is now no big secret. But this visit underlines the importance of the India’s security relationship with US, of which Israel is a very important factor. Considering this, one can say that this is one of the most significant moves of Modi government in foreign policy. It will help in formulation of Indo-Pacific strategy by Trump administration and lead to creation of an Asian NATO to counter China’s assertiveness in the region. Prior to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi added another feather to his cap through his successful sojourn to USA. Naysayers may say anything but this was the first time that any Indian Prime Minister was in the Rose Garden of White House to give statements alongside the US President. Modi’s three-time hugs to Trump gave the impression that he would do his signature greeting without fear or fumble and it sent a message that we indeed have chosen a strong leader. If one recalls recent past, then Trump’s meeting with other heads of state has always been eventful. But with Modi it went quite sober and uneventful. In fact, Trump seemed quite enjoying the company of Modi. The bonhomie grew stronger, while indicting Pakistan for cross-border terrorism in the joint statement. The US is finally recognizing the worth of India at the world stage. This recognition assumes greater significance when China is showing its true colour by trying to grab land at India-China-Bhutan trijunction in Sikkim. Through this aggressive stance, if China wanted to warn India of its growing closeness with US, then it has failed for sure. China’s unhindered support for North Korea is irking Trump as was evident with new US sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company. It was just a start. One could understand the fact that China is a power now and US would not confront it militarily but China’s meddling in Indian Ocean is one thing that rattles everybody. This emotion was reflected in the joint statement where the US backed the objection of India over China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Trump’s words, during his first meeting with Modi at White House, themselves spoke that relations between India and US have climbed to a new peak never reached before and this is a very good news for the people of both the democratic countries. For, both Modi and Trump will make great friends, as both are world leaders of stature; both have lots and lots of charisma attached to them–one is the leader of the largest democracy, the other is the leader of the largest economy; both are real decision makers.
Two of the greatest democracies in the world–India and America–are both fighting to get rid of terrorism. In this background, it was heartening to see India and U.S. showing their determination to destroy terrorist organisations. Against this backdrop, it is worthwhile mentioning here that in a stern warning to Pakistan, India and the US asked Islamabad to ensure that its soil is not used for cross-border terror with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump vowing to boost their fight against terror groups like ISIS, JeM, LeT and D-Company. Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin was declared a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”, which is a big diplomatic victory for India, as it had been trying this for a long time. Both the leaders welcomed a new consultation mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations listing proposals. We, thus, see that Donald Trump has done what Barack Obama, who was the former US President, as well as the earlier US Presidents were most reluctant to not just not do but even talk about. We have every reason to believe that from now onwards relationship between India and the US will break fresh grounds as both Indian PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump enjoy very good chemistry with each other, which is good news for people of both the countries. It may be recalled here that Pakistan had mounted a major diplomatic offensive after Wani’s killing in 2016 lobbying with the US and other members of the UN P-5 to view the incident as a case of Indian military excess and human rights abuse. But it failed miserably, as no one took Pakistan seriously. The writing on the wall was clear and the world endorsed India’s position most resoundingly. Hence, it is imperative that these two great democracies join together to arrest the spread of terrorism worldwide, as otherwise the world will tread a path of no return, considering the havoc the organisations like Al Qaeda, the ISIS and other terrorist outfits are capable of creating. The world looks forward to the two powerful leaders, Modi and Trump, to lead the campaign of annihilation of terror outfits. The high level discussions between the American President and our Prime Minister should set an outline for further discussions at lower levels, which involve minute details. We should be glad with the fact that a warm reception was given to our PM. One hopes the visit translates into tangible progress in the near future.