New Delhi is not on Trump’s schedule as he embarks on a five-country Asia trip from November 3-14. However, White House said he “will discuss the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region to America’s prosperity and security”
Donald Trump may be making a meal of the US Presidency according to his liberal critics stateside, but at least in so far as India and US policy towards the subcontinent is concerned, New Delhi has every reason to be pleased.
As Trump heads out to East Asia next month on what will be only his third major foreign trip as President, India is very much on the horizon for a man who professed to like the country and promised to be its best friend. New Delhi is not on Trump’s schedule as he embarks on a five-country Asia trip from November 3-14, but while announcing visits to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, the White House conspicuously said the US President “will discuss the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region to America’s prosperity and security.”
The US has long pressed India to “look east,” particularly during the Barack Obama- Hillary Clinton years, but the American political and strategic lexicon now clearly extends Washington’s Asia policy as far as India, locating it in the Pacific sphere rather than restricting it to South Asia. In fact, India does come under the Pacific Command in the U.S military scheme of things, unlike Pakistan, which comes under the Central Command.
This will be Trump’s first visit to East Asia, and indeed to China, although the ostensible program that has enabled a five-nation swing is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, and and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Angeles in the Philippines.
The trips will demonstrate his continued commitment to the alliances and partnerships of the United States in the region, the White House said, while asserting the President’s engagements will also “strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
There has been no talk yet of an India visit by Trump, but his daughter Ivanka is scheduled to come to Hyderabad for a Global Entrepreneur Summit end=November, possibly setting the scene for a Presidential visit in the months after.