Monday, December 11, 2023

Modi interested in economic diplomacy: Af-Pak expert

Kolkata, Nov 4 (IANS) Observing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sees trade and economics as ways to get around political tensions, international relations expert Michael Kugelman Tuesday said India was keen to deepen its ties with China.

“Modi is interested in diplomacy, particularly in economic diplomacy. He sees trade and economics as ways to get around bilateral political tensions. Therefore, I think, he would be interested in deepening what is already a very healthy trade relationship with China,” said Kugelman.

Kugelman – the South Asia associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington – emphasised the need for articulating mutual expectations from India-US strategic partnership at an event here.

“Modi, as a leader, is interested in economic performances and partnerships. He has expressed his admiration for Chinese economic model and, keeping aside the border disagreements, Modi wants to get this relationship with China to work,” he observed.

While India may not feature at the top of Washington’s foreign policy concerns, Kugelman asserted India-US relationship has an upward trajectory, especially in wake of India’s renewed interest in the ‘Look East’ policy.

“With US now more pivotal towards Asia aiming to deepening its engagements, commitments and resources in Asia, the trajectory of Indo-US ties will go only upwards, more so because of India’s renewed interest in the long standing Look East policy.”

“The US government is rather pleased to see the Modi government taking keen interest in deepening the Look East policy. It’s more like music to the ears for US officials,” said Kugelamn as he described Modi’s US visit as successful.

Observing that Israel-Palestine and the Iraq-Syria issues took the lion’s share, Kugelman said India was not the chief foreign policy concern for Washington.

“Described as strategic partnership, neither the Indians nor the Americans, have ever clearly articulated what they expect from this relationship, what this strategic partnership is supposed to mean,” he said.

“Whether it is about military cooperation, intelligence sharing, or expectation of cooperation that goes beyond mere bilateral cooperation, so it is imperative that the expectations are clearly set out,” he added.

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