Rally Diplo­macy

India Today - - UPFRONT -

As a piece of the­atre, ‘Howdy, Modi’—Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s rally in Hous­ton last week—was an un­qual­i­fied suc­cess. US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stood along­side as Modi took barely veiled pot­shots at Pak­istan and its sup­port of ter­ror­ists. (Trump also stood along­side Pak­istani PM Im­ran Khan the next day and re­it­er­ated the trust he has in Khan.) Per­haps this forced bon­homie was Trump’s at­tempt to show how qual­i­fied he is to in­ter­cede in the Kash­mir is­sue. The event also served to mask re­cent trade tensions—Trump has de­scribed In­dia as the “tar­iff king”, and US sen­a­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham, who re­port­edly has Trump’s ear on mat­ters South Asia, has de­scribed In­dia’s tar­iffs as “the worst”. Still, the op­tics had value, if only to un­der­line In­dia’s con­fi­dence and global sig­nif­i­cance.

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