Ten months after Donald Trump poser to Narendra Modi, US steers clear of request for troops in Afghanistan

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: September 9, 2018 2:21:09 am

Indian PM Narendra Modi (left) and US President Donald Trump. (source: Reuters/file)

About 10 months ago, when US President Donald Trump met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel in Manila, Philippines, on the sidelines of the ASEAN and East Asia summit in mid-November last year, he made an unusual request.

“Why doesn’t India put troops in Afghanistan?”, Trump is learnt to have asked Modi. Sources said officials from both sides were caught off-guard by the request.

“Modi was flustered,” a source told The Sunday Express and then the Indian side had to gently articulate its rationale for assistance for strife-torn Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development in the civilian sector. India has spent USD 2 billion in development assistance and another one billion USD has been committed for small development projects, Trump was told, after the US administration had announced its South Asia strategy in August last year.

But, this week, when US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and US Defence Secretary James Mattis met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence M, sources said the US request for troops was not reiterated. “They did…

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