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Diplomacy & Demagoguery

With the US gearing up for Presidential Polls (to be held in November), Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has expressed hope that the relation between the two countries will remain cordial in the coming years, irrespective of the outcome of the upcoming election! Speaking at an event organised by India Global Week in New Delhi a couple of days ago, the seasoned diplomat-turned-politician said that the bilateral ties took six decades to grow, making up for the lost time.

Dr Jaishankar has acknowledged the efforts made by the last four US Presidents – Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton – in order to boost the Indo-US ties. “I am sure you will agree with me that there is much discrepancy between these four US presidents. Still, all of them have given importance to India,” stressed the minister. He has explained that the ties between the two strategic partners focus mainly on Security, Defence, Trade and Technology. At the same time, Dr Jaishankar has claimed that the values and understanding between the two (different) societies also play a big role in strengthening the ties between India and the US. “I would say somewhere values do matter. Indians and Americans today have a better understanding of each other’s society, and therefore a much closer appreciation. They sort of feel for each other in a way in which many countries perhaps do not do,” he told the audience. The minister further said: “It is not just for the administration of the day though, obviously, that is critical. I think we have a very strong, very diverse relationship across the American polity, especially in the American Congress.

Dr S Jaishankar

It is to be noted that Dr Jaishankar hailed the Indo-US ties a day after former National Security Adviser of the US John Bolton said that President Donald Trump might not support India against China, if border tensions between the two Asian neighbours escalated. Bolton recently expressed serious concern over the Sino-Indian border tension, saying: “I don’t know which way he (President Trump) would go and I don’t think he knows either. I think he sees the geo-strategic relationship with China, for example, exclusively through the prism of trade.

Asked whether the outcome of the upcoming US Presidential Elections could change the scenario, Bolton stressed: “I don’t know what Trump will do after the November elections once the guard rail is removed… He’ll be back to the big China trade deal. If things were to develop between India and China in a more critical fashion, I’m not sure where he would come down.

John Bolton

It is to be noted that the Indian and Chinese Armed Forces have been locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last eight weeks. The tension escalated manifold after the Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. Meanwhile, Russia has played a positive role by encouraging both China and India to resolve the issue through peaceful negotiations. An outbreak of war between the two Nuclear Powers in Asia would certainly change the global geopolitical landscape.

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