- Without once mentioning China by name, Trump twitted Beijing for not being helpful in bringing North Korea to heel.
- Meanwhile, Donald Trump lavished praise on India’s little known contribution towards making sanctions against Pyongyang a success.
New Delhi’s purported adversaries clearly feel the pinch of the US-India clinch. Both Beijing and Islamabad reacted sharply on Tuesday to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump explicitly and implicitly identifying Pakistan and China respectively as nettlesome adversaries.
While Pakistan was publicly called out for backing terrorist groups and received a drubbing both in the joint statement and a warning by way of designating Kashmiri extremist Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist, the US-India position on China was more nuanced. Without once mentioning China by name, Trump twitted Beijing for not being helpful in bringing North Korea to heel, while lavishing praise on India’s little known contribution towards making sanctions against Pyongyang a success. India’s salience in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific region were referred to several times and the US also backed India’s role in Afghanistan.
Trump also spoke about a joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean that will involve Japanese, Indian and American warships, coming on the heels of his administration selling Guardian drones to India that will enable New Delhi to keep a check on Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean. A Senior White House official was cited telling the US media that Trump’s display of warmth towards Modi was at least partly aimed at President Xi Jinping of China, who has disappointed the US President in recent weeks by failing to impose more pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
China’s guidance to Pakistan and North Korea in the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile sphere has long resulted in an axis of nuclear powers.
The US-India bonhomie, coming on the heels of a rather more stiff meeting between Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago last week, sent the Chinese media into a tizzy. ”To assume a role as an outpost country in the US’ strategy to contain China is not in line with India’s interests. It could even lead to catastrophic results,” fumed China’s state-run newspaper Global Times, while maintaining that U.S was cozying up to India to ratchet up geopolitical pressure on Beijing.
Meanwhile, China’s client state Pakistan, which has been in the American bad books for several years now for its backing of terrorism and has been condemned to the doghouse by the Trump administration, raged against the global terrorist designation tagged on Syed Salahuddin, a Kashmiri radical who is coddled by Islamabad.
”The designation of individuals supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists is completely unjustified,” Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in a statement quoted in the local media, even as the Trump administration has signaled it may resume drone strikes and more punitive aid cuts because of Islamabad’s recalcitrance in reigning in terror groups.
However, it was not all hunky-dory for Modi and India despite the positive optics. The U.S President made sure to remind him in public the trade imbalance between the two sides, while declining to commit himself to visit India at Modi’s invitation (they will meet again at Hamburg at the G20 summit just ten days from now).
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