Sometime next month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will welcome US President Donald Trump on his first state visit to India. Among the highlights of the Trump trip will be a sequel to the rapturous ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event organised in Houston, Texas, in September last year which saw the two heads of state walking hand-in-hand before a crowd of nearly 50,000 people of Indian origin. The next US presidential elections are just 10 months away. While Trump’s domestic approval ratings remain high despite facing an impeachment in the US Senate, he needs all the help he can get. A rub-off from the Modi effect among the small but influential Indian-American community would be greatly welcomed. Some 45 per cent of the respondents feel that India’s relations with the US have improved under Trump, a dip of 8 percentage points from the previous survey in August 2019.
India’s tacit support for an embattled Trump might be tenuous in the bipartisanship stakes, but it is with good reason. Prime Minister Modi faces an uphill climb, with the Indian economy in slow-down and dipping foreign investments. An Indo-US trade deal is believed to be in the works and could restore India’s preferred trade status in the US and also ease concerns over New Delhi’s trade practices.
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February 03, 2020