Donald Trump will have a triumphant visit to India, a top diplomat in the previous Obama administration has said, asserting the US President has energised the Indian-Americans as a result of which Democrats might not be able to hold on to this community as they did in the past.
“My expectation will be – my guess is that President Trump will have a triumphant visit in Delhi,” Kurt Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said.
Currently the chairman and CEO of Asia Group, Mr Campbell said Donald Trump’s primary interest is not about America’s role in the world. “His primary interest is his re-election. It’s how that will manifest in terms of his potential re-election in November,” he said in response to a question at an event at the Brookings Institute think-tank last week.
Donald Trump is scheduled to travel to India on February 24 and 25, with stops in Ahmedabad and New Delhi.
Mr Campbell praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his diplomatic skills. “I will say this, I can’t think of any other leader who has had excellent relations with both President Obama and President Trump,” he said.
“Almost every leader in Europe and elsewhere have tended one direction or the other, and the fact that Prime Minister Modi and his team have very effectively engaged, to a degree that I think both leaders would say, no, he liked me best.”
“So I think that’s a real mark of the sophistication of Indian strategic diplomacy and understanding the personal dimension that Tanvi talked about,” Mr Campbell said during the release of the book “Fateful triangle: How China shaped US-India relations” by Indian-American scholar Tanvi Madan of Brookings Institute.
Mr Campbell said Donald Trump has energised the Indian-American group. “Now, historically, as a block, they have tended to be a little bit more on the democratic side, but I’m not sure that’s going to hold. We’ll see how it plays out,” he said.
“But I think as a group, they have domestic concerns, but also I think are going to be increasingly interested in the nature of the relationship between the United States and India. And I would expect both parties will be more attentive to that going forward,” Mr Campbell said.
Ms Madan said Donald Trump will get a very warm welcome in India.
“I think the large reason why he will get a warm welcome is that India needs and wants the US to continue to stay committed to playing a balancing role in Asian, to be committed to help, you know, India build up its military capability,” she said.
Noting that India doesn’t know what Russia’s going to do with China, Ms Madan said New Delhi is developing a relationship with Japan, Australia, and France, but the US still is for the Indian strategy, for the Indian economy, for the people-to-people reasons, if not the most important, at least a kind of first amongst equal partner for India.
“I think the Indian Prime Minister who, himself, is used to taking centre stage will be more than happy to give President Trump the centre stage. I think from the reports we’re getting about whether it’s people lining up in the streets to greet President Trump, or it is over 100,000 people in a stadium,” she said.