Mattis-Parrikar talk: US assures India of sustaining momentum in defence ties

Mattis-Parrikar talk: US assures India of sustaining momentum in defence ties

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Amid anxiety in India over the Trump administration’s H1B visa policy, there is a reassuring note from Washington about sustaining the momentum in burgeoning defence relations between India and the US. Days after US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Secretary James Mattis spoke to his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar and underscored the new administration’s commitment to build upon the transformation in India-US defence relations accomplished in the last few years.
In the first conversation between the two defence ministers since the change of guard in Washington, Secretary Mattis committed to build upon the tremendous progress in bilateral defense cooperation made in recent years, underscoring the strategic importance of the US—India relationship and India’s role in advancing global peace and security,” Pentagon Press Secretary Capt Jeff Davis said in Washington DC on February 8.
On the strategic and security side, the signalling from the Trump administration has been largely positive. In his telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trump had assured that the US “considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world.” The two leaders also decided to bolster the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defense.

Trump sings America First anthem

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With the stirring anthem of “Making America Great Again” and the mantra of America First to empower the country’s “forgotten men and women,” Donald J. Trump was sworn in as 45th president of the US at Capitol in Washington D.C on Friday noon (January 20). It was vintage Trump in many ways as he enunciated his core message of focusing on America’s economic resurgence and staying away from distractions of internationalism. “From this day forward, a new vision will vision will govern our land. It’s going to be only, America,” said Mr Trump in his typical straight talk. The message coming out from the inauguration speech was unambiguous: under Trump’s watch, the US will be more focused on the domestic agenda, with the overarching objective of restoring prosperity to millions of Americans who, as he has consistently argued, have ended as losers of globalisation. There was hardly any utterance on the America’s leadership in the world, except a terse statement about reinforcing old alliances and forming new ones. Mr Trump’s clarion call for uniting the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism and his promise that the US under his watch “will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth,” will be closely dissected in capitals of the world, and signal a muscular national security posture, which could entangle the US in a new global war on terror.

The Trump Anxiety Index: Why India needn’t worry

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The spectacular headline-hogging victory of billionaire tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump, who took charge as the 45th president of the US on January 20, has unsettled the global consensus about America’s leadership and position in a conflicted and mutating world order.
Nearly all parts of the world, impacted by the US’ policies directly or indirectly, are speculating feverishly about the ramifications of the Trump presidency. The dominant sentiments are that of anxiety, befuddlement, uncertainty and unpredictability. These disparate worries and apprehensions can be coalesced and crystallised in the Trump Anxiety Index (TIA), which will rise and decrease in proportion to the policy and postures his presidency will adopt towards major cross-cutting issues.
The questions are proliferating by the day, but the Trump anxiety is more pronounced in some countries and regions of the world. On a scale of 1 to 10 on Trump Anxiety Index, China, Mexico and Pakistan will score high, maybe 7-8. By contrast, India scores low, maybe 3-4.
Why India is not so much worried about the Trump presidency? The answer to this all-important question is not all that esoteric. While there is some speculation about a possible reset in India-US relations in some areas, the picture is largely positive and optimistic, and it won’t be an exaggeration to say that there will be more continuity than disruption and potential subversion.
Looking ahead, the picture for India-US relations is largely optimistic, albeit the road ahead is fraught with some challenges and imponderables. Both George Bush Junior and President Obama had raised the bar for what the latter has called “the defining partnership of the 21st century,” and it is now up to President Trump to seize the initiative and leave his indelible imprimatur on this important relationship. Trump’s dream of Making America Again should blend with continued support for India’s rise, the ongoing project of making India great again. The hesitations of history, as PM Modi famously said, are well behind us, and it’s time for the world’s largest democracies to compose a new symphony amid challenges, uncertainty and free-floating anxiety. Read more…

No Trump worry, US envoy says India-US ties will be on upswing

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Shed Trump anxiety; India-US relations will be on an upswing. This was the reassuring message from US envoy Richard Verma amid ripples of worries in some sections in India about what the incoming Trump presidency will bring for India.
Alluding to an all-round transformation of India-US relations in the last two years, Mr Verma, the first Indian-American to be appointed as the UA ambassador to India, underlined that the US will continue to support India’s rise and will be New Delhi’s closest partner in months to come. “India is a country on the rise. We will support India’s rise and continue to be your closest partner,” the US envoy told an audience of diplomats, businessmen and journalists at a luxury hotel in the Indian capital on December 6. He was speaking at an interaction organised by industry body CII and Indo-American Friendship Association.
Providing a snapshot of the dramatic upsurge in the India-US relations, Mr Verma projected that “this upward trajectory will continue.” Allaying apprehensions about any possible diminution of commitment by the Trump administration towards India, the envoy argued that the momentum in the India-US strategic partnership will continue as there is widespread bipartisan consensus across the political spectrum in Washington.

Deconstructing Trump victory: What numbers tell

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As Donald Trump won a “stunning” victory, poll numbers of the “political earthquake” have already begun to be deconstructed. How was Trump able to upset the apple cart, when overwhelmingly all poll data before the elections showed Clinton as the likely president-elect? As ‘not my president’ becomes the rallying cry for American citizens who are shocked to see a political amateur become their leader, it is clear something somewhere was dismissed, not taken sufficiently into account or not factored at all into the equations. What is now being closely questioned is whether Trump won or Clinton lost — and it seems very likely that the latter is what won Trump the US presidency.

Donald Trump’s electoral map looks unlike what Republican nominee maps have usually looked like. Clearly, the rage of the rustbelt went under-appreciated, even in the Trump camp, where internal polling did not see a victory for the business tycoon. The same can be said of what is clearly a deeper anguish and anxiety over race. And thus, while it was expected that white, working class individuals with no more than a high-school education would form the base support for Trump, exit polls indicate that all white people, regardless of class, gender and education levels, took what a panelist on MSNBC called “the last stand” against the browning of America.
In the end, disinterest and apathy, sexism and a genuine dislike for Hillary Clinton, due to her close identification of the Washington status quo, are all factors that ended up costing Clinton the elections and tilting the balance in Trump’s favour.

Trump triumphs, promises to remake America: Will he deliver?

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Republican leader and billionaire tycoon has won the US’ most tightly contested election and is set to become the 45th president of the United States of America. In his victory speech, Mr Trump has vowed to be the “president of all Americans” and to rebuild the nation that has been more divided than ever. The world and America will be watching closely how Mr Trump lives up to this promise.
Defeating rival Democrat Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump has won well above the required 270 votes to become the next president. Trump has won in key states of Florida (29 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16) and North Carolina (15). The Republicans have also retained control of Congress, winning majority in both the Senate and House.
For the moment, he has pledged to “be a president for all Americans” in his victory speech, calling his campaign “a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people.” He has even reached out to all of his non-supporters in the past for their “guidance and help so we can unify our great country”. Pursuing such a track in the coming weeks and months may be the best indicator of an upcoming presidency headed by a business man, real-estate entrepreneur and reality TV star with no previous political experience who has time and again shown himself to be a nativist, racist, xenophobic and misogynist.

Trump is next president of US, says it’s time to come together

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

In a spectacular repudiation of the Washington establishment, Donald Trump has won the historic US presidential elections and will be the 45th president of the US.
The Republican candidate has already won 278 electoral college votes, against his arch rival Hillary Clinton’s 219 votes, giving him a comfortable victory.
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” Mr. Trump told supporters in the wee hours in New York City.
In a victory speech shortly after the results became clear, Mr Trump told his delirious supporters at his New York headquarters, to “come together as one united people.”
Hillary Clinton has conceded defeat.

America Trumped: Don set for shock victory

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Defying pollsters and pundits, Donald Trump, the flamboyant and controversial billionaire, looks set for a shock victory in the historical US presidential election and is poised to become the 45th president of the United States.
In the elections that went down the wire, Mr Trump, known for his controversial views on Muslims, minorities and immigration, scored a spate of victories in swing states, tipping the balance decisively in his favour.
The Republican maverick managed to win key battleground states of Ohio, Florida and North Carolina, and also scored well in many Democratic bastions.
Mr Trump’s victory underscores deep resentment among large sections of Americans, especially blue-collar workers, with the Washington establishment.

Taj beckons: Modi invites ‘good friend’ Obama to visit India, NSG a work in progress

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It was the last meeting between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, but it looks like they will be seeing more of each other even after the American leader demits office.
“It was a very warm and friendly meeting on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit. Both leaders reviewed the immediate priorities in the strategic partnership,” said sources after their meeting in Vientiane on September 8.
“PM also invited President Obama to visit India after he demits office,” said sources. “President Obama said that he would welcome any opportunity to visit India. As an aside, he added that he and Michelle were yet to see the Taj Mahal!”
It’s not clear what was discussed about the US’ plan to fast-track India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for which the US support will always be crucial. There was, however, a cryptic hint that President Obama will do all he can and help in any way he can. “President Obama said that he has always been a friend of India and will continue to be a “strong partner of India and help in any way I can,”’ Said sources.
Reading between the lines, those in the know can expect that Mr Obama will do his best to advance India’s NSG membership, but going by current geopolitical complications and conflicted India-China relationship, New Delhi may have to wait a while before it enters the nuclear club as a member.

An Assessment of President Obama’s Foreign Policy

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As President Obama approaches the end of his eight-year tenure, it is time to assess his foreign policy. Any reasonable assessment should take into account⋅⋅⋅
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