‘Howdy, Pelosi!’ says Jais­hankar, eye on Dems

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - In­[email protected] times­group.com

New Delhi: For­eign min­is­ter SJais­hankar will ad­dress a joint re­cep­tion at the Li­brary of Congress in Wash­ing­ton DC on Wed­nes­day with House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the tallest Demo­crat leader right now and the driv­ing force be­hind an im­peach­ment in­quiry against US Pres­i­dent Trump.

Quite apart from the Ma­hatma Gandhi-Martin Luther King sym­bol­ism that will per­vade the event, Jais­hankar’s ap­pear­ance with Pelosi will be a way of bal­anc­ing the pol­i­tics which had got skewed af­ter the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event in Hous­ton, where it ap­peared like the PM might be en­dors­ing Trump who faces re-elec­tion next year.

Jais­hankar met US sec­re­tary of state Mike Pom­peo, de­fence sec­re­tary Mark Esper, the new NSA Robert O’Brien, and act­ing home­land se­cu­rity sec­re­tary Kevin McAleenan. The US-In­dia ‘2+2’ meet­ing is not yet sched­uled, but Jais­hankar has met all the key peo­ple in that group­ing in these three days.

Jais­hankar went out of his way to dis­abuse the no­tion that PM Modi had “en­dorsed” Trump. Speak­ing to jour­nal­ists, he stressed that In­dia had a “non-par­ti­san” stand in do­mes­tic US pol­i­tics, re­fut­ing the no­tion that Modi had said “abki baar Trump sarkar” as an en­dorse­ment. “I think, please, look very care­fully at what the PM said. My rec­ol­lec­tion of what the PM said was that can­di­date Trump had used this (‘abki baar, Trump sarkar’). So, the PM is talk­ing about the past,” he said.

Nev­er­the­less, Jais­hankar has more than this to work through in US pol­i­tics. In the past two decades, In­dia has found greater sup­port for its causes from the Repub­li­can end. The Democrats, on the other hand, have em­braced the lib­eral, more ide­alised view of In­dia, which leads them to be dis­ap­pointed in In­dia’s messy sit­u­a­tions. That means a more shrill ap­proach to hu­man rights, Pak­istan, etc.

Full re­port on www.toi.in

AP

For­eign min­is­ter S Jais­hankar and US sec­re­tary of state Mike Pom­peo at the US State Depart­ment in Wash­ing­ton on Mon­day

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