The Trump administration fundamentally recognises India as a partner of strategic importance, a former American diplomat has said in an apparent endorsement of the Indo-US relationship under the new government. “The Trump administration, as in the prior administration during the tenure of President (Barack) Obama, fundamentally recognises India’s strategic importance as a partner, India’s importance as a country that espouses the same values, goals, and objectives of a rules based international order, and also India’s important and growing capabilities as a net security provider,” former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal said.
The Obama administration made a big bet on India in terms of India as a strategic partner across the Indian Ocean and across the Indo-Pacific, said Biswal. “I think that the Trump administration will continue that. We’ve seen that, in terms of some of the pronouncements that we’re seeing on the defence partnership as well,” Biswal told PTI.
According to her, one of the hallmark of Indo-US relationship in the past two decades has been the bipartisan support it attracts in the US. Improving and strengthening ties with India has been a national security and foreign policy priority of every US president since Bill Clinton, which continued with his successors George W Bush and Barack Obama.
The successful meeting between the US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington last month is further indication of that, she said. “I think the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington went off quite well. Both sides were fairly judicious about keeping expectations low, and about quieting some of the areas of friction in an advance of the visit,” Biswal said.
According to her, the first ever meeting between the two leaders, set in motion the trajectory of India-US relationship for the next four years. It also resulted in US approving a long pending Indian request of sale of unmanned drones to India.
The meeting, Biswal noted, created an opportunity for the two leaders and the two teams to be able to spend a fair bit of time. “It was important in allowing the relationship to take hold in the new American administration,” she said.
“It was important and consequential in continuing to advance the strategic and security relationship, and also in underlining the importance of working through some of the areas of competition or tension on the economic side,” she added. “We both obviously have very complex economies. We have very important domestic, political, and economic constituencies that we have to manage, and jobs in America and jobs in India are both very important to both leaders,” Biswal said.
India and the United States have much to gain by collaborating and further deepening of the defense and intelligence and cyber security partnership, she added.