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HomeGeopolitical CompassSouth & Southeast AsiaLeague of Nationalists: How Trump and Modi Refashioned the U.S.-Indian Relationship

League of Nationalists: How Trump and Modi Refashioned the U.S.-Indian Relationship

Author: Shivshankar Menon

Affiliation: Distinguished Fellow at Brookings India

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: September-October 2020/USA

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 1470


Keywords: Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, US-India Relations.


The United States might be losing some of its allies, but under the government of Donald Trump, India’s Modi has found his best ally. It is not the first time that the US is on good terms with India,  which it viewed as a democratic and “regional counterweight” to communist China before it became more friendly to the Soviet Union as a strategic ally. But now that India-China escalations have increased on the borders of Kashmir, the US is getting an opportunity to be India’s best friend in these hard times. Both India and the US share a common view on the threats that China poses. Unlike the US’s failed relationships with other countries where finding a common goal was a priority, Trump and Modi are playing the game a different way—using a give and take approach. The defence ties between the two nations have increased exponentially, as US defense exports to India have gone from zero to USD $20 billion since 2008. India’s foreign ministry defines the relationship of Trump and Modi as a friendship of exceptional warmth. Both Modi and Trump made self-esteem visits to each other in 2019: Modi was received by a crowd of 50,000 Indian Americans, and Trump in India was welcomed by almost 100,000 people. The author, who is former National Security Adviser to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, suggests that India and the US need to move beyond the military partnership and cooperate in other things as well. 


By: Saima Rashid, CIGA Research Assistant



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