Modi's Houston message to world loud and clear
If Donald Trump is a personification of ego, Narendra Modi used his theatrics to the hilt to satisfy Trump's ego.
If Donald Trump is a personification of ego, Narendra Modi used his theatrics to the hilt to satisfy Trump's ego. So far, no one else has praised Trump the way Modi did at the 'Howdy Modi" event.
Forget Afghanistan. Forget North Korea and forget China. Modi also called Trump a better negotiator. And the icing on the cake came when he gave the call 'Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar' to the American Indians.
Modi stepped into the internal affairs of the US with style. The pomp and show, perhaps, made the Americans forget what Modi exactly did - wading into the election campaign of a foreign country.
Of course, Modi has a defence: He can always claim that Trump is the best bet in the fight against terrorism. Thus far, Modi trumped Texas, one could say. There were several not so veiled assertions too.
Modi has also gone ahead and sought a standing ovation from the audience for abrogation of Article 370. It was not just a message to those in India opposed to the move, but also a message to the world in general and the US President in particular, that Indians won't tolerate any interference in the Kashmir affairs, an internal matter of India.
It would be interesting to watch Trump's next move on Kashmir. He is all set to meet Imran Khan, the Pakistan's supremo (???) before the United Nations. There is talk of the UN chief mentioned Kashmir if only to urge both India and Pakistan to thrash out the contentious issue peacefully.
Against this backdrop, Modi chose to send a not so gentle reminder to Trump about the strong Indian American mood ahead of the US elections on Kashmir. The rock star finish given to the Houston show must have really flummoxed the maverick US President.
Next, there was the warning delivered to Pakistan's terror groups and their masters that India would wage a war on them now. Delivered from the US soil and in the presence of Trump this message must have come as a shocker to the Pakistani establishment which is busy nowadays campaigning against India on the Kashmir issue with false narratives and negative make-believe stories.
Trump too talked of securing the borders of the two countries - the US and India - from terror. However, this one is on a slippery ground. There could be a different meaning to what Trump said and what Modi asserted. Trump may be hinting at Afghanistan while India may be talking about Pakistan.
Trump is seeking a greater role for India rather than the present one - of nation building in Afghanistan. He wants India to get militarily involved. Now, this is something that India must be wary of.
Never get into the troubled waters of Afghanistan. Strengthening Afghanistan army and supplying it with arms and ammunition and to some extent with financial aid too is a different ballgame. But, getting your men there is stupidity.
The rugged terrain of Afghanistan and its harsh weather conditions are not meant for outsiders. Even the Taliban which fights the Afghan government forces does not want outside interference.
The US and the Russians failed here exactly. Hope Modi is doing the right thing for India.