‘Howdy, Pelosi!’ says Jaishankar, eye on Dems
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.
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Foreign minister S Jaishankar and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo at the US State Department in Washington on Monday