American President’s foreign visits get preferential treatment. Wherever he goes, all eyes will be focused on his visit. Visit to the largest democracy India means the entire international community will take keen interest. Asian countries, especially neighbours Pakistan and China observe the visit closely. Both these countries are India’s enemies. Of them Pakistan is US’ most loving child. From outside it expresses anger over Pakistan promoting terrorism but supports Pakistan in terms of money and weapons. It befriends India for business opportunities. America has the habit of talking brazenly on Kashmir to irritate India. Trump recently said that he is ready to mediate over Kashmir. China, which is India’s second enemy country, is throwing touch challenges at the superpower.
In this context, both these countries are observing Trump’s visit to India on February 24 and 25. These countries are internally discussing as to how this visit will benefit India, what concessions he will give to India, what kind of agreements will be signed and what are the advantages India will get because of this. Historically, India has been a very small entity for American policymakers. Initially they were unable to digest India moving closer to then Soviet Union. With the fall of Soviet Union, India and US started building their relations. If we look at America out of the two major parties, Democrats are liberals. They are somewhat positive towards India. Republicans are egoistic. They have less love for India.
Coming to Trump’s visit, he is the first US President to come to India after Obama’s visit in 2015. He is coming towards the fag end of his term. Trump will be facing presidential elections in November. Diplomatic experts believe that there are personal reasons behind Trump’s visit. There is large number of NRIs in the US. There are an estimated 40 lakh Indians and over two lakh are students. Their importance in the presidential elections can’t be underestimated. Trump’s strategy is to garner their support by visiting India. Immediately after coming to power, Trump had imposed restrictions on H1B visas, Indian students and immigration of professionals. As a result Indians started looking towards Canada, Australia, France and Britain. Considering this Trump recently somewhat relaxed the visa rules.
Initially it was thought that trade agreement and defence procurements will be key during Trump’s visit but going by his latest statement key agreements are not likely. For some time India has been demanding that additional tariff on steel and aluminum production be waived and that under generalized system of preference export-related benefits on some domestic products be revived. India is also demanding that its products in agriculture, automobile, and engineering sectors be provided marketing facility. America too is demanding that market facility be improved for its dairy products and medical equipments and import duties be cut on knowledge-based and technology products. In the past America had agreed to sell Integrated Air Defense Weapons System (IADWS) to India to repulse enemy’s air attacks There are doubts on whether this 186 crore dollar deal will be signed during Trump’s visit or not.
An agreement is also likely to buy 24 multi-purpose military helicopters for Indian Navy from America’s Lockheed Martin. The value of this deal is estimated to be 260 crore dollars. Another agreement is likely to be signed for F-15X Eagle war planes for Air Force. The leaders of both the countries have cordial relations. After assuming office in May last year for the second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on Trump four times.