Namaste Trump: POTUS visit to India

Big setback if India and U.S. can’t agree on trade deal now, says top U.S. diplomat Alice Wells

US top diplomat for South and Central Asia Alice Wells. File   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

If India and the U.S. cannot achieve a modest trade deal with U.S. President Donald Trump visiting India, it would be a “big setback”, the U.S.’s top diplomat for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells said. U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer cancelling his trip this week to India cast doubt on whether a mini trade deal could be completed before the February 24 visit of Mr Trump. Mr. Lighthizer will possibly visit along with Mr. Trump, The Hindu had reported, leaving open the possibility that a modest agreement could be finalised.

Ms. Wells said that if a “tiny phase 1 trade deal” with the U.S. President visiting India could not be achieved, it would be a “big setback”. She was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a United States India Business Council (USIBC) welcome reception for Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu on February 13 evening.

“They continue to try and finalize an agreement,” Ms. Wells said, adding that she however said that she could not speak for the Office of USTR and is not privy to the details of the negotiation. She said the U.S. would like to have “a lot more ambitions” for making India part of the global supply chain but that the U.S. experience in negotiating trade was “very painful” and that the policy directions in India – including in the recent Union Budget as well as the e-commerce policy ( a draft was introduced in early 2019) were of concern.

Ms. Wells herself will not be accompanying Mr. Trump to India and neither will Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They will stay behind in Washington for a Chief of Missions conference. US envoy to India Kenneth Juster will represent the State Department in India during the presidential visit.

Trump concerned about India-Pak tensions

In response to a question from The Hindu on whether Mr. Trump would offer to mediate between India and Pakistan regarding the Kashmir issue , Ms. Wells said the U.S. President is aware that India is not interested in mediation but that Mr. Trump is “genuinely interested” in how India and Pakistan are managing tensions and “concerned” about the tensions. Mr. Trump has , more than once, said that he has good relationships with both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He has also repeatedly offered his mediation services.

“If we can help, we certainly will be helping,” Mr. Trump had said at the World Economic Forum in January, in the presence of Mr. Khan.

US thinks Australia should join Malabar naval exercise

“We think it’s time,” Ms. Wells said on the question of Australia participating in the U.S.-India-Japan naval wargames, the Malabar Exercise. Concerns about the message Australian participation would send China (Australia is part of the ‘Quad’ group with India, the U.S. and Japan) have, historically, made India reluctant to permit Australia’s participation in the exercises.

Ms. Wells said it would be a “good gesture” to even have Australia as an observer, adding that she was “very struck” by how positive the India Australia relationship is right now.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 2:39:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/big-setback-if-india-and-us-cant-agree-on-trade-deal-now-says-top-us-diplomat-alice-wells/article30824248.ece

In This Package
Energy could replace Defence as the strongest link in India-U.S. relations, say experts
Regional issues, 5G, cross-border terror likely on agenda
Trump calls Modi a ‘true friend’, lavishes praise on PM
In a first, no shutdown in Kashmir on U.S. President's India visit
Trump and Melania visit Taj Mahal, marvel at monument of love
Donald Trump offers India a range of high end military hardware
As it happened | U.S. President Donald Trump's first day in India
Ahmedabad glitters to welcome Donald Trump
Ahmedabad joint rally with Trump will be historic, says Modi
Donald Trump, seventh U.S. President to visit India
U.P. Governor, Yogi Adityanath to receive Trump at Agra airport
US President Donald Trump leaves for maiden visit to India
The Trump visit as India-U.S. trade booster?
Kejriwal dropped from Melania Trump’s school visit
Committee meets to review preparations for Trump’s Gujarat visit
PM Modi not to visit Taj Mahal with U.S. President Donald Trump
President Trump likely to be offered ‘Trump platter’ at Bukhara
Put aside political identity, think as one nation: BJP to Congress on questions about Trump visit
Trump expected to talk CAA, NRC and Kashmir in India: U.S. Officials
Ahmedabad Mayor chairs committee hosting ‘Namaste Trump’ event
Unknown group to host ‘Namaste Trump’ event in Ahmedabad
Trump event should not become an extension of U.S. Presidential campaign: Congress
‘Namaste Trump’ won’t mark inauguration of Motera stadium: GCA
Donald Trump claims 10 million will welcome him in Ahmedabad
White House to take call on Trump’s Sabarmati Ashram visit: Gujarat CM
Daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared to accompany Donald Trump to India
DRDO anti-drone system to be deployed for Trump-Modi roadshow
Analysis | Donald Trump’s upcoming visit sharpens focus on Indo-Pacific military ties
U.S. President Trump not to visit Sabarmati Ashram?
Trade deal with U.S. delayed, not stuck, says government
Trump ambiguous on trade pact with India now, saving big deal for later
Donald Trump visit to Ahmedabad | Kerala social worker Aswathy Jwala launches hunger strike against wall ‘to hide slums’
Trump’s visit may seal helicopter deal
Donald Trump visit reason for our eviction, say Ahmedabad slum-dwellers
Trump’s India visit has potential to usher in new era of bilateral ties: USISPF
Trump’s India visit preparations show ‘slave mentality’: Shiv Sena
It will be ‘Namaste Trump’ at Ahmedabad’s Motera stadium
You are reading
US top diplomat for South and Central Asia Alice Wells. File
Big setback if India and U.S. can’t agree on trade deal now, says top U.S. diplomat Alice Wells
India offers U.S. dairy, chicken access in bid for elusive trade deal with Trump
Trump’s India visit: Four Senators write to Mike Pompeo on Kashmir, CAA and NRC
Walls rise in Ahmedabad ahead of Donald Trump visit
Next Story