Drones, fighter planes, work visas, bear hug, Pakistan, dinner at the White House - what all will Modi and Trump cover in one workday?
Congratulations may also be in order, now that Trump’s party has won its first political acid test after the US Elections in the Georgia polls this week (and the Comey tapes saga has ended). Trump called up Modi on his Uttar Pradesh win and that move by Trump was unprecedented; here in the US, the Georgia election win is big deal for the Republicans so that could well be on the menu too.
How about we start with what we know: Narendra Modi lands in Washington D.C late Saturday and has a jampacked schedule for Sunday and Monday. You'll find a Friday touchdown being talked of in some places - no, it's Saturday. Modi's in Portugal on Friday, all times local.
Sunday will see Modi meeting top ranking CEOs through various swing slots during the day and evening.
American CEOs expected to meet Modi on Sunday include Apple's Tim Cook, Walmart's Doug McMillon, Caterpillar's Jim Umpleby, Google's Sundar Pichai and Microsoft's Satya Nadella.
When America takes America First too seriously, that may well push other countries to do the same for themselves. Incidentally, Narendra Modi will be talking about Make In India well before he meets Trump - when he sits down with CEOs Sunday. The themes will not be terribly different from Trump's battle cry in US Elections, it'll be done in Modi's signature style though, not in all CAPS on Twitter.
At 2 pm, Modi speaks at a community reception in McLean, Virginia - at the toniest address in the richest neck of the woods in and around the capital city.
As the visit draws closer, forward movement on defence deals - either expression of interest or more than that - is spiking, highlighting for Team Trump an India that is willing to buy military equipment and implicitly answer America’s “what’s in it for me” question.
News is just out on PTI that the US has cleared the sale of 22 Guardian drones to India. The deal is estimated to be worth $2-3 billion.
PTI quotes “informed government sources” saying the decision was communicated to the Indian government and the manufacturer by the State Department.
Earlier this week, a Tata group company - Tata Advanced Systems Limited inked a deal with US aircraft maker Lockheed Martin. Although this is not directly linked to the Modi-Trump meeting, the signals are clear. The Americans have entered the fray and will be strong contenders when the global competitive bids are announced by the Department of Defence.
New tweaks in the defence procurement policy push for Make in India than off the shelf purchases - transfer of prodction know how to India rather than outright buys.
Next item to check off: visas. Will they come up, won’t they, what if they do? Experts have given us all options but with Modi the politician, never write off a surprise master stroke. If the H1B does come up, here’s an end to end checklist for you.
And one last thing - slowly but surely, influential voices in reputed, for-pay foreign policy magazines are singing a new tune - about how Trump is a "traditional" President after all. If there's one thing you read on this theme, consider this excerpt from the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, written by Elliot Abrams: "The broad lines of its (Trump administration's) policy fit easily within those of the last few decades. Trump might not be a conventional president, but so far, his foreign policy has been remarkably unremarkable. Every administration’s policies are a combination of the old and the new. In Trump’s case, the expectation was that the mix would change: a great deal more of the new and a broad rejection of the foreign policies of Trump’s recent predecessors. That was certainly the impression left by Trump’s rhetoric. But his foreign policy and his national security appointees have so far pointed in a mostly conventional direction."
Published Date: Jun 23, 2017 02:46 am | Updated Date: Jun 23, 2017 06:56 am