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Modi-Trump meeting seen through the lens of Indo-US summit history

"Clueless" is how one wonk explains the access vacuum in the new Trump administration. There was a time when policy experts spoke to people in the administration and then blogged or spoke in public forums - a pipeline that had bonafide quotes, not leaks. Not any more. Even fired FBI director James Comey talks about the "gang of eight" who have it all and the concentric circles outside of those eight are outliers in the government who are uninformed and understaffed.

While domestic fires rage on - Comey, Mueller, possible obstruction of justice, the coming midterms and a legislative agenda that's going nowhere, the White House keeps welcoming a steady parade of global leaders.

On June 26, it will be Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's first ever meeting with Trump in Washington D.C., not just their first summit meeting. In such cases, the past is a telling lens to frame these meetings in a wider contextual arc. Srinath Raghavan, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research speaks to Firstpost on the Modi-Trump summit against the backdrop of Indo-US summit meeting history.

srRaghavan speaks on the Indira Gandhi - Ronald Reagan meeting in 1982 which came after 10 years of troubled relationship, the backlash against the H1B, the underpinning of American hegemony that Trump is challenging and what a good Trump-Modi meeting might look like.

The link to the full interview is here.

An excerpt from the interview on Nehru's and Indira Gandhi's summit meetings in the US is below:

"The history of first meetings between Indian and American leaders is as old as our Republic itself. Jawaharlal Nehru came to the United States of America immediately after Independence and framed the visit as a journey, an exploration and education for himself. He had never been to the United States either. You learn about your counterparts, you learn about their world views, you learn to understand and appreciate their areas of interest there. To that extent, expecting concrete results to come out of such meetings may be a bit premature. Let me give you the example of Indira Gandhi meeting Ronald Reagan in 1982 after almost a decade of stagnation in US India relations. I'd say regression, actually. Reagan and Gandhi were polar opposites in their world views. It turned out to be a relaxed affair, they got along well. The Reagan administration had stepped up help to the Afghan Mujahideen through Pakistan, turning a blind eye towards the growing nuclear clout of Pakistan which was problematic for India. Yet the meeting still led to important stuff like a memorandum of understanding on tech co-operation. So a meeting that does not seem very promising at first can turn out either way."

Updated Date: Jun 17, 2017 02:46 AM

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