Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India—as part of a larger tour of Asia, including Pakistan and China—should mark the consolidation of two important trends and help initiate a significant third.
The upcoming visit of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to India is not a routine affair. The trip to India is evidently timed to burnish his legitimacy after the international opprobrium that followed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trade issues are not a formal part of this week’s dialogue in Delhi between the visiting U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Indian Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu. But there is no doubt that mounting trade tensions between India and the United States have cast a dark shadow over the talks.
For both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the new emphasis on separating religion from politics and confronting “political Islam” is not a question of defining an abstract theory of the state. It is a considered response to the grave challenges they face.
Current U.S. policy approaches toward the Indian subcontinent need to be understood against a far longer historical backdrop of U.S. involvement in South Asia.
The evolution of India’s foreign policy has been shaped by its experience in balancing competing interests during the Cold War.
If the United States effectively uses its considerable residual leverage in Afghanistan, Pakistan does not try and turn Afghanistan into a weak protectorate, and the Taliban does not overreach inside Afghanistan, there is reason for optimism.
New Delhi’s traditional fear of alliances is based on a profound misreading of what they might mean. Alliances are not a “permanent wedlock” or some kind of a “bondage.” They are a political or military arrangement to cope with a common threat.
Unlike his predecessors, who asked India to downsize its presence in Afghanistan in order to placate Pakistan, U.S. President Trump is asking India to do more.
Instead of reacting with injured innocence, New Delhi should undertake a clear-eyed appraisal of the situation in Afghanistan as well as its own approach.