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Trump may drop in at PM’s Houston diaspora meet

September 15, 2019 06:38 AM


Trump may drop in at PM’s Houston diaspora meet
Could Upend Pak Plan On J&K At UNGA

New Delhi:

An India-US tango in Houston and New York in coming days could well upstage Pakistan’s vociferous campaign against

nullification of Article 370 with a large diaspora rally in Houston, to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, likely to see US President Donald Trump drop in.

The September 22 event, which has steadily gathered tempo, could see Trump turning up and addressing the audience as former UK PM David Cameron did at a Modi rally at Wembley in London in 2015. The White House is likely to announce Trump’s participation shortly. In coming days, India and the US are also expected to announce a trade agreement that should resolve some outstanding issues that have cast a shadow on the bilateral relationship.

The deal, which is in the last stage of negotiation, is expected to be announced during Modi’s visit, which will begin on September 21. At the UNGA itself, Modi has lined up a slew of bilateral meetings with leaders from across the globe.

Clear signs of Pakistan’s campaign losing steam

Both Narendra Modi and Imran Khan are expected to speak at the UN General Assembly on September 27. While Indian diplomats will remain on alert to counter what they see as Pakistan’s mischief, there are clear signs of Pakistan’s campaign losing steam.

Trump’s presence at Modi’s diaspora event could be read as an endorsement of Trump in the run-up to the US elections next year. To balance things out, the rally is also likely to see a senior Democrat party figure. With Indians as among the wealthiest groups in the US and politically active as well, their presence holds political significance. Modi will also have a round-table with energy CEOs in Houston, which is important in the context of India preparing to import more energy from the US and the Indian government’s push towards renewable energy, clean technologies and smart grids.

Foreign minister S Jaishankar will hold his own set of meetings with his counterparts during the high-level UNGA week. Jaishankar will arrive in the US after a visit to Finland.

Meanwhile, the Indian position on J&K was backed by UK PM Boris Johnson who, in a response to a letter by Bob Blackman, the north London Tory MP, said: “The government’s long-standing position remains that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political solution to the situation in Kashmir, in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”

In Geneva, India’s diplomatic initiative saw senior MEA diplomats Vijay Thakur Singh and Ajay Bisaria explaining the Indian viewpoint. Jaishankar’s meetings in central Europe and Brussels are understood to have impacted how these countries reacted to Pakistan’s campaign as well as the traction India is seen to have gained. India expects Pakistani PM Imran Khan to embark on a huge media blitz, with reports that he has lined up a series of media appearances. In contrast, Modi is not likely to go down that path at all, confining himself to bilateral engagements

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