TRUMP TO SKIP IN­DIA IN ASIA TOUR

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - NEWS - Yash­want Raj let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

WASH­ING­TON:The White House on Fri­day an­nounced Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will travel to Asia in Novem­ber, which will take him to China and four other na­tions but not In­dia. But the trip could lead to a meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on the side­lines of the Asean sum­mit in Manila that the Amer­i­can leader will at­tend.

Although In­dia has not made any an­nounce­ment, Modi is ex­pected to at­tend the re­gional sum­mit too, given the “act East Asia” push he un­veiled at the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions sum­mit in 2014 and re­turned to par­tic­i­pate in ev­ery sum­mit since — the last in 2016.

If Modi and Trump do meet in Manila, it will be their third en­counter so far — first in June in Wash­ing­ton DC fol­lowed by an “im­promptu in­ter­ac­tion” at the July G20 sum­mit in Ger­many.

It will be their first meet­ing since Trump un­veiled his South Asia pol­icy urg­ing In­dia to play a larger role in Afghanistan.

Trump’s first Asia trip as pres­i­dent on Novem­ber 3 -14 will take him to China and Viet­nam and al­lied coun­tries Ja­pan, South Korea and Philip­pines. He will at­tend the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion sum­mit in Dan Nang, Viet­nam, and Asean sum­mit in Manila, Philip­pines.

“The Pres­i­dent will par­tic­i­pate in a series of bi­lat­eral, mul­ti­lat­eral, and cul­tural en­gage­ments,” the White House said in a state­ment an­nounc­ing the trip and the Apec and Asean meet­ings, “demon­strat­ing his con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to the al­liances and part­ner­ships of the United States in the re­gion.” Trump, who will also be ac­com­pa­nied by First Lady Me­la­nia Trump, will “dis­cuss the im­por­tance of a free and open Indo-Pa­cific re­gion to Amer­ica’s pros­per­ity and se­cu­rity”, said the White House, a pos­si­ble ref­er­ence to the South China Sea dis­putes in­volv­ing Bei­jing’s ag­gres­sive claims in the re­gion.

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