Donald Trump is currently on a visit to India, a major regional ally he sees as a counterbalance to China’s influence in Southeast Asia. He has teased for a new trade agreement with New Delhi and praised counter-terrorism cooperation.
US President Donald Trump has unveiled plans to supply “the best, most feared military equipment” to India, as the two countries are looking to reign in regional terror groups.
Addressing a crowded Namaste Trump rally in Ahmedabad on Sunday – a nod to last fall’s Howdy Modi rally in Texas – Trump also announced that India would receive a batch of US-made military helicopters worth $3 billion. He also said he was looking forward to boosting space cooperation between the two nations.
Trump has long complained about what he calls unfair trade practices by American partners, including India, and last year stripped the country of special trade privileges under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which that allowed India to ship to the US $5.6 billion worth of goods duty-free.
His visit to India, the first in his time in office, was preceded by negotiations on a “confidence building” trade agreement. They have yielded no results, but Trump claimed on Sunday that talks are in the early stages to forge an “incredible” deal.
However cumbersome for Narendra Modi, Trump’s trade demands appear to have little impact on their broader strategic relationship. The US and Indian militaries have been cooperating under Trump like never before, as Washington seeks to counterbalance China’s growing economic dominance as well as territorial demands in the Indo-Pacific.
The US president told a cheering crowd in Ahmedabad that he is resolved to tackle radical Islamic terrorism, and that the US and India are committed to working together to fight this threat.
He also brought up US strikes on radical Islamists and referred to cooperation with Pakistan on fighting militants operating on the Pakistani border – a major source of tension between New Delhi and Islamabad.