On Trump visit

Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump sustain their popularity by representing the interests of certain constituencies in their respective countries. They resemble each other so much that in a jocular vein Trump can be called ‘America’s Modi’ and Modi ‘India’s Trump’ (Editorial, “Birds of a feather,” Feb. 13).

Mr. Trump’s unguarded revelation that Modi promised an attendance of 5 to 7 million people in Gujarat to cheer him gave a clear indication that that kem chho event is going to be more simulated than spontaneous. A lot of work and money will have to be put into mobilising crowds to accord the visiting dignitary a ‘memorable welcome’. Supporters of Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump are sure to get a vicarious thrill out of watching the leaders lap up mass adulation. The bonhomie between Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump is unlikely to work in America as much as it does in India in lifting the spirits of people. Mr. Trump is sure to use his two-day visit to India to garner the support of Indian Americans in the race for re-election as President.

Possibly the Modi-Trump summit will see the inking of trade and defence deals. As avowed nationalists, Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump cannot be seen to be not driving a hard bargain. It is doubtful that Mr. Trump will agree to undo the recent decisions made by him against India’s interests on the trade front. Still, pressure must be mounted on Mr. Trump to reinstate India in US’ list of developing countries and restore its Generalised System of Preferences toward India. Defence deals for acquisition of sea hawk helicopters and reconnaissance drones are said to be on the cards. As the arms supplier, the U.S. stands to benefit from the deals. A decrease in defence expenditure can go to increase expenditure on food security, health and education for the impoverished multitudes.

The two leaders are almost on the same page on issues involving Muslims; Mr. Modi’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act is akin to Trump’s denial of visa to Muslims from certain countries. The Trump administration does not hold the CAA and the National Register of Citizens against the Modi government, but Democrats trenchantly criticise them and that is bound to bear on India-U.S. relations.

G. David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 11:02:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/on-trump-visit/article30815075.ece

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