Trump-Modi Meeting – Better Than Expected AND Strategic

 

Last week we discussed one “reality” of the US-India “partnership”, the economic reality that is not ideal at this time. To their wise credit, President Trump & PM Modi avoided this unpleasant reality and focused on what is entirely positive & mutually beneficial. President Trump told America and his base why India is beneficial to his mission of creating jobs in America by highlighting the big order from Indian Airline Spice Jet for Boeing airplanes. Also President Trump highlighted the negotiations underway for a “major long term contract” for import of American Natural Gas by India. 

Energy is a terrific example of a win-win partnership between India’s critical needs & American capabilities. Read what Energy Secretary Perry said in his statement:

The unspoken & unaddressed positive of this meeting was the timing. There has been some angst in the Indian media about the delay in scheduling this visit of PM Modi to the White House. They don’t get it. They should listen to the very significant 2-liner in the welcome address by President Trump. He said the North Korean Regime was “something that has to be dealt with & probably dealt with rapidly“.

North Korea is the most critical challenge before America and the Trump Administration is focused on it. That is why President Trump made meeting with Chinese President Xi Jin Ping his number one priority. Meeting Indian PM Modi in the midst of that would have been counter-productive and perhaps created an unnecessary irritant in US-India relations. Just a couple of weeks ago, President Trump signaled in a tweet that he has run out of patience with China. That is very positive for India because a closer US-China geostrategic relationship is India’s greatest worry.  

From America’s standpoint, President Trump’s warm, positive & geostrategic embrace of PM Modi was a perfect signal to China. The Trump Administration approved the sale of specialized Guardian Drones to India even before PM Modi touched down in Washington DC. These drones have never been sold to a non-NATO country as the New York Times wrote. The Indian Navy is increasingly concerned about the penetration of Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean and as China Central Television noted “The Indian Navy wants to use these drones to put the whole Indian Ocean under its surveillance.”

China got the message both from the Drone sale and from the warm embrace of PM Modi by President Trump. How do we know that? Because as Trump & Modi sat down for dinner, China sent its soldiers into a major incursion into Chumbi Valley, a very strategic area at the intersection of Chinese-occupied Tibet, India & Bhutan. The incursion was to build a road from Chinese-occupied Tibet into the Doklam plateau that would enable Chinese artillery to threaten a critical pathway from mainland India into Northeastern India. Indian Army troops entered the area and stopped the Chinese Army from building the road.  

This is a major escalation of military tensions by China against India. Not only is the physical incursion to build a road a serious escalation but even worse is the explicit warning by the Chinese Defense Ministry to India to remember 1962, the short war in which the Chinese Army humiliated the Indian Army. Such rhetoric has not been seen or heard in several years and that suggests how China has been rattled by what happened in the Trump-Modi meeting. 

The response of the Indian Army has been swift & hard. The road building was stopped immediately by Indian troops and now the two sets of troops are almost face-to-face. The area sandwiched between India & Bhutan is totally advantageous to the Indian Army. So either the Chinese miscalculated & assumed that the Indian side would hold & begin talks or they were rattled enough to do something dumb. The Indian Army has stayed silent leading defense analyst Ajay Shukla to state:

  • “when you have an incident like this, the side that comes off second best does all the talking; the side that sits on the pig’s back sits there silently”.

A good discussion of this situation is in a clip from NDTV 

If China was rattled by the Trump-Modi meeting, they were enraged when the Trump Administration announced the sale of $1.4 billion in arms to Taiwan after PM Modi had left DC. 

China was not the only regime to react angrily to the Trump-Modi meeting. Iran did something they had not done for the last decade or so. Supreme Leader Khameini publicly included the Indian state of Kashmir in his list of regions where Muslims are in danger.  This is probably in response to President Trump’s statement in welcoming PM Modi that stated “we will destroy radical Islamic terror“. And what was the reaction of the regime that is the world’s worst & most persistent sponsor of terrorism? The NaPak media went into panic mode in analyzing what the Trump-Modi meeting means for their regime. 

These violent & emotional outbursts from China, Iran and NaPak media provide the best evidence of how positively important the Trump-Modi meeting turned out to be. Kudos to both President Trump and Prime Minister Modi.

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