Former Foreign Secretary Shashank speaking to ANI on Tuesday
Former Foreign Secretary Shashank speaking to ANI on Tuesday

Full show of confidence in Indian leadership and friendship with India, says ex-foreign Secy on Trump's visit to India

ANI | Updated: Feb 18, 2020 17:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 18 (ANI): President Donald Trump's upcoming visit to India next week is a full show of confidence in Indian leadership and friendship with India by the United States, former Foreign Secretary Shashank said here on Tuesday, adding that it is also equally important because the world leader is visiting India and not any other country amid all the domestic issues going o in his own country.
"His (Trump) visit is important because this is Trump's first-ever visit to India. America has seen a lot of development in its domestic affairs in the previous months. Presidential elections are coming forth in the US. Secondly, this is the President's first visit to any foreign country post his acquittal in the impeachment trial. He is visiting India and not any other country. The visit is a full show of confidence in Indian leadership and friendship with India," the former diplomat told ANI in an exclusive interview.
The US President will pay a two-day state visit to India from February 24 at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The dignitary is expected to attend an event at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on the lines of the 'Howdy Modi' function that was addressed by the US President and Modi in Houston in September last year.
The announcement of Trump's first official visit to India was earlier made by the White House, which, in its statement, said that the US President and Modi had agreed during a recent phone conversation that the trip will "further strengthen the United States-India strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people."
Shashank, meanwhile, noted that Trump's visit will further deepen defence ties between the two countries. "America is willing to share its latest technology with India and also deepen the strategic relationship in the Indo-Pacific especially in view of India's Look East Policy," he stressed.
"I'm not much confident on the trade deal. But this factor, I hope should not affect the bilateral friendship between India and the US," he added.
The diplomat also said that the upcoming visit will definitely influence the votes of Indian Americans and others belonging to the Indian origin in the 2020 US presidential elections. "The phenomenon is that Indian origin people are with the Democratic Party but both the leader's gesture is friendly and it will impact American Indians during the elections. Especially, when Trump is looking forward to host events like 'Namaste Trump' in Ahmedabad," the former foreign secretary said.
However, Trump's visit to India is "bad news" for Pakistan. "The country which notoriously spreads cross-border terrorism in the region was harbouring America's enemies while taking money from it. Both the leaders (Trump and Modi) are very strong leaders in the world and both of them are against terrorism," Shashank noted.
Regarding the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), the former diplomat stressed that India has already spoken on such issues and "Trump has no problems with that."
"The US is aware that issues including the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A are just another political gimmick by Pakistan to rant false propaganda against India on the international platform. Even Trump is aware of the fact that Jammu and Kashmir have been an internal matter of India and we have always been against third party mediation by any country," Shashank said.
Shashank, IFS of 1966 Batch, was appointed as the new Foreign Secretary in November 2003.
During the visit, Trump, who will be accompanied by First Lady Melania, will attend official engagements in New Delhi and Ahmedabad, and interact with a wide cross-section of the Indian society, the MEA said in a statement. (ANI)