Millennium Post

What next?

In his exit memo, outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the relationship between India and United States would be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. “The United States and India share common values that bind us together, and our relationship has evolved from one with great potential to one that is achieving great things for both countries,” Kerry said. In the past year, both nations have signed a slew of important defence, trade, and energy related agreements. One of the key foreign policy initiatives of the outgoing Obama administration has been to make India a major player in its “Pivot to Asia” doctrine to counterbalance China’s growing influence in Asia. Prime Minister Modi seems happy to play along, considering China’s recent economic and military concessions to Pakistan. Beijing has worked overtime to undermine India across international forums. Nonetheless, India must be careful not to enter into a one-sided relationship with the US, and isolate the likes of China and Russia. Washington’s track record with its allies in the developing world does not inspire much confidence. Modi would also do well to learn from former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee’s decision to temper relations between “natural allies”. US President-elect Donald Trump’s approach to India has been dogged with ambiguity. During the final Presidential debate, he referred positively to India. He spoke of India’s high growth rate and his business relationships here. However, early in the campaign, he complained of outsourcing, about jobs being "shipped out" to India and alleged misuse of H1B visas. In fact, two US Congressmen reintroduced a bill to curb the use of H-1B visas on Thursday. On Pakistan, meanwhile, his comments have been equally vague. As President, it is not clear whether this would translate into a total reversal of US policy towards Pakistan. It would be interesting to note what the future holds.
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