trump is planning a state visit to china in November this year. In addition, he will visit four Asian nations including Japan, South Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam, but significantly will give India a miss. There are some reports that he may meet the Indan prime minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Vietnam, which Modi will attend.

The American approach has something to do with the results of the recent visit of General Mattis, the defense secretary to New Delhi. Mattis came with the idea of furthering the ideas of Donald Trump, where the president, in an address, had suggested that regional powers must help America in its fight against terror.

Trump had in mind the active participation of the Indian army in operations in Afghanistan. These hopes were dashed as, in a joint press conference, the Indian defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman, clearly stated that there would be no boots on the ground. This was reported by the Hindustan Times.

Irritants with India

There have been other irritants as well and the personal equation built up by Obama with Modi is nonexistent as Trump and Modi have not really gelled together. One of the reasons is that the USA has a huge trade deficit with India and it expects India to shoulder greater responsibility as a strategic partner of the USA.

The Indians under Modi have different priorities and the fact that the US kept silent during the recent face-off with China on the border at Doklam has not gone down well with the Indian leadership.

India is a major power in Asia and it does not follow the US dictates. India is also not ready to jettison the special relationship with Russia which stood by India at a time when the West chose Pakistan.

Trump gives India a miss

Trump has chosen to give India the miss as he travels to Beijing. The old strategic relationship nurtured by Clinton and reinforced by Obama is greatly diluted.

Obama had attended the Indian military parade on the occasion of Republic Day in January 2016, a first by a US president. In contrast, Trump has visited nearly two dozen countries but not visited India. One reason is that Trump wants to erase the legacy of Obama and the result is that the Obama-Modi equation has simply evaporated with Trump at the helm.

Last word

Trump is cozying up to China in anticipation that Beijing will rein in the North Korean nuclear program, but he would be well aware that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is wary of China and in sum total he may not achieve what he wants. His attempt to bypass India, in the long run, could lead to loss of American influence in SE Asia.