WASHINGTON: The first hundred days of the Trump administration have shown a positive trend for the Indo-US relationship and the upward trajectory of ties was expected to continue with bipartisan support for it, a former top Indian diplomat has said.
On the eve of US President Donald Trump completing 100 days in office, former Indian Ambassador to the US Arun Singh said the Indo–US relationship during this period has broadly proceeded along expected lines. "As the engagement of the past hundred days has shown, India is clearly seen as an important interlocutor, with some convergence of interest, and potential for an even stronger mutually beneficial partnership," he told PTI.
Beginning in the last phase of the Bush administration and almost all but two years of the Obama administration, Singh was a key player in driving the Indo-US relationship in the last one decade. During the campaign, President Trump had spoken positively about India and expressed support for consolidating the Indo-US relationship further. Trump has spoken several times on phone with Prime Minister Modi, Singh said. India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar have had consultations with senior US officials during their visits this year, he noted.
US National Security Adviser Lt Gen H R McMaster recently visited India and also called on the Prime Minister. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met with US Treasury and Commerce Secretaries earlier this month in Washington, Singh said, referring to the high-level bilateral visits. "We can expect the positive trajectory to continue since there is now bipartisan support in the US for the relationship," Singh said.
At the same time, he said acknowledged that there will "no doubt" be some areas of concern. "The eventual US decision on H-1B visas will have consequences for our technology workers and companies. Reduction in US tax rates, if realised, could draw capital into the US and away from other countries," he warned.
"Large US deficit, on account of tax reduction and infrastructure spending, could raise interest rates globally, which would also have consequences for India," the former Indian diplomat said. Responding to a question on Trump's foreign policy in the first 100 days of his administration, Singh, who retired from the foreign service late last year, said 100 days is perhaps too short, and certainly an artificial, 24/7 news cycle driven timeline, to assess the enduring and defining parameters of the foreign policy of any new administration.
"This initial phase is also usually marked by tension between the compulsions of proposals made during the campaign aimed at rousing the base and getting out the vote, and the constraints subsequently imposed by limits of power and realisation of larger consequences," he said.
These hundred days have thus seen the fulfilment of some campaign promises, reversals on others, and several critical issues still being evaluated, Singh noted. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20 and completes hundred days in office today.