Trump Administration Transactional But Under Modi 2.0 Will Find India No Pushover


New Delhi and Washington will be seeking to “get to know each other” amidst a general perception that bilateral relations are stagnating when visiting U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo meets India’s new external affairs minister S.Jaishankar in New Delhi on Wednesday. In this chat, SNI Editor-in-Chief Nitin Gokhale and Editor Surya Gangadharan tell Deputy Editor Parul Chandra that the U.S. needs to realise that with the Modi government having returned to power a second time, it may not get everything it wants from New Delhi. So if it expects India to call off the S-400 deal with Russia to acquire this missile defence system for fear of sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), it will not happen, they said. The US is also expected to press India to sign the defence pact BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation) but here again indications are that India in turn will ask the Americans what it can give in return. Iran, too, is expected to figure in the discussions, not merely because India has been forced to make its oil imports from Iran to zero for fear of U.S. sanctions but also because of the on-going tensions in the Persian Gulf region with Washington-Tehran ties being particularly volatile, at present. There are also indications, as our editors learnt, that the U.S. may be seeking to have India play a role in reducing its tensions with Iran, a country with whom India enjoys close ties.


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