Can India work with 'unpredictable' Trump?

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visit India on Thursday to hold strategic talks on military and trade deals. The BBC’s Vikas Pandey explains what’s at stake.

The meetings between the US officials and their counterparts Nirmala Sitharaman and Sushma Swaraj – described as the 2+2 dialogue – are taking place against a backdrop of recent strains between Washington and Delhi.

Meetings were first scheduled in April, but had to be rescheduled after US President Donald Trump fired his then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The dialogue was suspended once again in July for what India’s foreign ministry described as “unavoidable reasons”.

Much has changed between the two strategic allies in recent months.

New world order

The US has objected to new defence deals between India and Russia, and has also warned Delhi against importing crude oil from Iran. Both Moscow and Tehran are currently under US sanctions.

Mr Trump’s reported mocking of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s accent hasn’t gone down well with Indian diplomats. And the unpredictable nature of the Trump administration has also made India’s diplomats cautious.

Washington and Delhi mostly enjoyed warm relations during former US presidents George Bush and Barack Obama’s stints at the White House. But it’s too soon to say the same about the Trump administration.

Pratyush Rao, associate director for India and South Asia at Control Risks consultancy, said…

Continue Reading This Article At BBC News

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