- Writer has discussed about the realistic approach India needs to adopt while dealing with the Trump Administration.
- India and U.S have recently concluded 2+2 dialogues with some hopes and fears.
- While maintaining the close strategic and economic ties with U.S it is also important for India to maintain good ties with other Nations.
- India needs to be totally realistic in dealing with the Trump Administration because:
- US unilaterally renounced many past American bilateral, regional and global commitments, with its “America First” policies
- It has been offended and has dealt arbitrarily, even with long-term allies like Canada, Germany and Japan.
- Trump Administration filed a complaint against India in the World Trade Organization (WTO), challenging several of our export programs.
- US had levied heavy duties on India’s exports of steel and aluminum.
- Recent development with China has provided India the space to deal with U.S. such as:
- Growing cooperation between China and India, including in areas of defence and military exchanges is witnessed.
- Unlike last year, China has provided early warning on the rising level of Brahmaputra to deepen the relation.
- However, there are some dilemmas involved such as:
- China does not intend to moderate its economic, diplomatic and military support for Pakistan which can go against India’s interest.
- US and India show concerns about growing Chinese assertiveness across the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, against China interest.
- Boost in Military cooperation between India and the US may bother China.
- India, US and Japan have been carrying out tripartite naval exercises to contain China’s dream of string or pearls strategy.
Dilemmas involved in relation with China vis-à-vis Afghanistan
- The Americans are indicating a desire for an early exit from Afghanistan and want India to play an important role against Taliban.
- However, China for a different reason now has a cozy relationship with the Taliban.
- For India, Russia is as important as U.S, however, India need to maintain balance when dealing with both Countries because:
- India is planning to buy S-400 missile air defence systems from Russia.
- But, US Legislation CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act)enables the US government to impose sanctions on countries, which have “significant transactions” with Russian arms industries.
- However, after strong lobbying by India, the Trump administration got the legislation amended to enable it to exempt countries like India, Indonesia and Vietnam from its provisions. But future deals with Russia may attract CAATSA.
Dilemma involved in relation with Russia vis-à-vis Afghanistan
- Russia also has developed soft corner for Pakistan backed Taliban group which can go against India’s interest.
- Russia’s growing interest in arms trade with Pakistan which may indirectly support Pakistan backed Taliban group.
- Iran Factor when dealing with Trump administration:
- Iran has been major supplier of Crude oil to India
- But recent sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration on oil purchases from Iran has affected India to a large extent.
- Most crucial issues affecting U.S and Indian relationship is, India has trade deficits and cannot arrange payments through bilateral settlement mechanisms, with either Iran or Russia in Trade of Oil or Arms respectively.
- What India can do to maintain the balance:
- Modify its plan in arms relationship with Russia, to one linked to its “Make in India” programme.
- Should examine how this can be done for indigenous production of Russian items like Automatic Rifles, or submarines.
- Progressively reduce oil imports from Iran.
- In a longer-term perspective, international cooperation has to be sought.