Washington: The Trump administration has worked to make India a more prominent part of its regional strategy, a top American think-tank has said in a report, lauding President Donald Trump for promoting strategic ties with India in a “sustained manner”.
Asserting that the Trump administration has maintained the success story of US-India relations initiated by George W Bush, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in its report gives the US President a high B+ grade when it comes to America’s ties with India.
The CFR in its special report Trump’s Foreign Policy are Better Than They Seem said President Trump “deserves credit for promoting strategic ties with India in a sustained manner”.
The Trump administration has worked to make India a more prominent part of its regional strategy. After changing the name of US Pacific Command to US Indo-Pacific Command in May 2018, the United States is now planning its first tri-service exercise with the Indian military, said the report authored by former US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill.
President Trump’s inclinations, as conveyed through his South Asia strategy, which accords primacy to India; his release of advanced weapons systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, for sale to New Delhi; and his decision to treat India on par with NATO allies where strategic technology release is concerned are all viewed as favourable toward India, it said.
The report said that New Delhi has accordingly responded with bold initiatives of its own.
“Although it has not entirely endorsed the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, it has applauded the strategy’s declared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region a concept first articulated by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys an exceptionally close relationship,” the CFR said.
In addition, India has quietly and sometimes not so quietly begun to cooperate militarily with the US in significant ways even in peacetime, said the report, in which Blackwill argues that even though many of Trump’s actions have been impetuous and the president oversees a chaotic and often dysfunctional policymaking process, some of his individual foreign policies are better than his critics give him credit for.
Blackwill points to what he sees as a much-needed toughening of US policy toward China, a justified US withdrawal from Syria and disengagement from Afghanistan, and closer relations with India, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, said CFR President Richard N Hass in the forward to the report.
Observing that it is no wonder that Trump is not given sufficient credit for his foreign policies, the report said that after more than two tumultuous years in office, the president has disrupted a whole series of conventions in the international system, some of them undoubtedly needed, but adopted few follow-on strategies and little or no implementation.