25 October, 2020

Bravely Bear The Gifts

Surprising positives and a few silences mark Modi’s US visit

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Modi with Donald and Melania Trump at the White House
Photograph by PTI
Bravely Bear The Gifts

Both in tone and substance, Prime Minister Modi’s US visit has gone off better than exp­ected. The atmospherics have been good, with protocol exceeding gestures such as Melania Trump joining the President to receive him at the White House adding to the warmth of the welcome. Trump set aside considerable time to engage with Modi, with a reception and dinner at the White House, apart from a one-on-one meeting and delegation level talks. This was important, as it gave an opportunity to the two leaders to size each other up better and strike a personal rapport—a major objective for India. Disregarding the composition of the Indian delegation, the US side fielded an exceptionally high-level team for the talks with Vice-President Pence, Secretary of State Tillerson and Defence Secretary Mattis (even though these two had met Modi separately), Commerce Secretary Ross and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin present. This indicated that the US side wanted full-scale talks. It will be useful for the future that all key decision makers in the new US administration have had full...



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