Modi-Trump meet likely to set tone for bilateral ties
Bouton, an expert on India and Asia, said it would be “a meeting of the minds on the issues that the two leaders want to pursue”
The meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump would set the tone and the framework for the bilateral relationship going forward, a leading expert on India and Asia has said.
“The two leaders will have a chance to get to know each other and to find some common ground on the way they look at the world and a common strategic view that would set the framework on how the two governments pursue the relationship going forward,” Senior Fellow for India with the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Marshall Bouton told PTI.
Bouton, a nationally known expert on India and Asia, said the first meeting between Trump and Modi in Washington on June 26 will be “all about setting the tone and the framework for the relationship going forward” but he does not expect the meeting to be “big bang.” “I am not dismissing the possibility, but I am not expecting major bre akthrough announcements from this meeting. In some ways those would be the cart before the horse,” said Bouton, who is President Emeritus of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
He said the “most positive” outcome of the first summit talks between leaders of the world’s largest and oldest democracies would be “a meeting of the minds on the issues that the two leaders want to pursue together.” Bouton had last month authored a ASPI paper ‘The Trump Administration’s India Opportunity,’ in which he called for the US administration to move decisively and engage Modi s government to deepen cooperation and manage potential disputes.
Listing the priority areas for the first Modi-Trump meeting, Bouton said the two leaders must begin by emphasizing the strongest areas of mutual interest. He noted that the Trump administration has not yet articulated with India its role in the broader Asia-Pacific region, importance of the US-India partnership over the next two-three decades of bringing stability and peace to Asia and India’s “absolutely critical” role in accomplishing that.
On terrorism, he said both countries are grappling with the scourge and both are experiencing some growing concerns. “Another area in the security realm is Pakistan,” he said, adding that Modi will want to share with Trump his view and his concerns about Pakistan behaviour vis-a-vis India.
Modi will also be very interested to learn what is the strategy of the Trump administration on Afghanistan. Another key issue could be China and what is the Trump administration’s strategic view of China going forward, said Bouton, who has previously served as special assistant to the US Ambassador to India.