Quad Quandary: Modi, Trump step up strategic connect in balancing Asia

Quad Quandary: Modi, Trump step up strategic connect in balancing Asia


Amid the mutating strategic landscape in Asia and the new geostrategic configuration of Quadrilateral as a backdrop, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with US President Donald Trump in Manila that focused on bolstering India’s military capability and enhancing strategic connect in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Modi-Trump meeting at a glitzy hotel in Manila on November 13 was watched closely in the region amid a collective effort by the leaders of ASEAN and East Asia Summit countries to shape an inclusive regional architecture and China’s declared ambition to be a global power.
The meeting between Mr Modi and Mr Trump lasted for 52 minutes, much beyond the allotted time, signalling that despite a slew of back-to-back meetings both leaders had serious business to discuss. “There was a broad review of strategic landscape in Asia,” India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told reporters at Manila Marriott hotel, where PM Modi with his entourage is staying.
Mr Trump was all praise for Mr Modi, suggesting a deepening personal chemistry between the two leaders. “He’s become a friend of ours and a great gentleman doing a fantastic job in bringing around lots of factions in India — bringing them all together,” he said.
Bonhomie and backslapping apart, the overarching thrust of the discussions was on spurring the rise of India as a major global power and enhanced coordination in the Asia-Pacific, with an eye on containing China.
The White House read-out on the Trump-Modi meeting underlined “shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
They pledged to enhance their cooperation as Major Defense Partners, resolving that two of the world’s great democracies should also have the world’s greatest militaries,” said the White House.

With Quad on mind, Modi, Trump bond in Manila


With the new geostrategic alphabet of Quadrilateral shaping up as a backdrop, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Donald Trump at a glitzy hotel in Manila to map an ambitious agenda for enhanced India-US strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Modi-Trump meeting is easily the show-stealer at the ASEAN summit in Manila as the region, specially China, will be watching closely how the world’s two largest democracies plan to deepen their connect in this strategically located region.
With paparazzi frenziedly clicking away, a beaming Mr Modi, with Mr Trump seated by his side at the Sofitel Plaza hotel, struck an upbeat note on the future of India-US relationship, which has acquired a new bounce under the Trump presidency.
In his opening remarks before he began talks with Mr Trump, Mr Modi spoke about deepening and expanding India-US relations and underlined that the two countries can work together not just bilaterally, but on an entire spectrum of cross-cutting issues for the benefit of the region, the world and the mankind.

ASEAN@50: Why Manila summit matters for India


It’s ASEAN moment in the Philippines capital – sparkling lights, giant Christmas tree and ASEAN emblems splashed all over this bustling metropolis conjure up a festive atmosphere that’s in keeping with the 50th anniversary celebrations of this vibrant grouping of 10 Southeast Asian nations. And Philippines’ maverick leader Roderigo Duterte has launched a veritable charm offensive as he rolls out the red carpet to welcome a host of world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, among others, for this defining marker in the history of ASEAN.
For India, the Manila summit will be an opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to underscore New Delhi’s strategic intent to play a bigger role in the region and impart more depth and content to its Act East policy.
On the strategic side, all eyes will be on the message coming out from the ASEAN summit on the South China Sea, where China’s suspected expansionist agenda has renewed anxiety about Beijing’s intentions and the region’s response to it. Ahead of the summit, Mr Duterte has already voiced his concerns and underlined the need for a written code of conduct that will ensure responsible behaviour by China in the disputed water body.
Looking ahead, as they celebrate 25 years of multifarious engagement across the spectrum, India and ASEAN will be looking to map new frontiers and raise the bar for this mutually empowering partnership. The message coming from the Manila summit will have a critical bearing on the future of this economically dynamic region and how it handles differences and power games to focus on the larger dream of realising the potential of an Asian Century.

India-Bangladesh bonding on upswing with launch of another train


Imparting a new impetus to regional connectivity in South Asia, the prime ministers of India and Bangladesh have flagged off another train service that will bolster people-to-people and economic ties between the two countries.The inauguration of the weekly ‘Bandhan Express,’ which will run every Thursday between Kolkata and Khulna, was attended by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee via a video link.
“We have inaugurated two rail bridges today (over rivers Meghna and Titaash). Built at a cost of about $100 million (Rs 651.55 crore), the bridges will help strengthen Bangladesh’s rail network. Being a trusted partner in Bangladesh’s development works is a matter of pride for India,” Mr Modi said on November 9.

Belgium King’s visit raises bar for Delhi-Brussels ties

Celebrating 70 years of diplomatic ties with India, Belgian King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, along with a high-profile business and academic delegation, have begun a⋅⋅⋅

Trump’s Asia tour: What’s on the table?


Amidst tensions simmering in the Asia-Pacific with regard to North Korea’s rapid nuclear programme and the US withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership, US President Donald Trump’s five-nation Asian marathon will be a testing time for American diplomacy under its unpredictable leader. Mr Trump, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump will be visiting Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Philippines in one of the longest tour of Asia in 25 years by an American President.

India, Italy to upscale economic ties, enhance counter-terror cooperation


Resetting their bilateral ties on an upward trajectory after a prolonged chill following the Marines incident, India and Italy have decided to enhance counter-terror cooperation and upscale their economic relationship.
The first visit by an Italian prime minister in a decade by Paolo Gentiloni October 30 ended a hiatus of 10 years and firmed up a template for accelerating India-Italy partnership across the spectrum. Mr Gentiloni’s visit marks significant step forward since the two countries were embroiled in a crisis involving two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in sea in 2012. The visit paves the way for a series of high-level Italian delegations that are scheduled to visit India in the coming days.

India’s Chabahar moment as first shipment of wheat leaves for Afghanistan


Opening a new chapter in enhancing connectivity to Afghanistan, India has sent the first shipment of wheat to Kabul through Iran’s Chabahar port, bypassing Pakistan.The first wheat shipment was flagged off by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on October 29 through a joint video conference. It has been hailed by New Delhi as a landmark moment paving the way for operationalisation of the Chabahar port as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan.
With US President Donald Trump envisaging a pivotal role for India in stabilising Afghanistan, Washington has taken a softer approach towards India’s Chabahar port drive. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during his recent visit to India, had clarified that the US would not impede any “legitimate business” between Iran and other countries in the region.

With China on mind, Japan pushes quad dialogue with India, US & Australia


With China’s President Xi Jinping promising to making China a major global power at the country’s twice-in-a-decade Party Congress, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has said that his country would soon propose a top-level security dialogue with the US, India and Australia on board.

Speaking to The Nikkei daily, he said that the “idea is for the leaders of the four nations to promote free trade and defence cooperation across a stretch of ocean from the South China Sea, across the Indian Ocean and all the way to Africa”. “We are in an era when Japan has to exert itself diplomatically by drawing a big strategic picture,” Mr. Kono said.

The daily reported that the foreign minister said that he had already had a brief discussion on the same with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on the sidelines of a foreign ministers meet in Manila two months back.

“Free and open seas will benefit all countries, including China and its Belt and Road Initiative,” he said, adding that dismantling North Korea’s missile programme will also focus prominently in the talks. Recently, expressing the US’s evolving view on China’s ambitious project, Mr. Tillerson had expressed concerns over China’s predatory economics and its not-so-responsible rise.

Tillerson seeks stronger India ties,no tolerance for Pak terror havens


Setting the tone of his maiden official visit to New Delhi, US Secretary of State Rex Tillersonhad expressed last week the US administration’s determination to “dramatically deepen ways” to build an ambitious strategic partnership with Indianot just specific to South Asia but also including the Indo-Pacific, with an eye on China’s rising assertiveness in the region.
In New Delhi on a 36-hour visit, Mr. Tillerson reaffirmed his country’s support for India’s rise as a regional power and providing further assistance in advancing India’s military mordernisation by equipping it with best technologies.