April 02, 2021
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Cold shoulder

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Debate the Debates

Edition 13

Good morning. In today’s edition, we look back at the time when the then US President Donald Trump gave India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi the cold shoulder.

On June 30, 2018, senior journalist and founder of The Print Shekhar Gupta wrote that certain events at that time had shown that Modi’s foreign policy was in tatters and his government was to be blamed for the situation. But Harsh Gupta, fund manager and co-founder of India Enterprise Council, noted that Shekhar Gupta was wrong as Modi government had made India much stronger.

Was India’s foreign policy in tatters when Donald Trump gave Narendra Modi the cold shoulder in 2018?

“Yes”, said Shekhar Gupta:

He wrote, “It is risky to keep punching above your weight, as India has been lately. You have to be cautious, not reckless, egged on by a Boswellian media, commentariat and unquestioning think tanks. Self-congratulation is a most tempting trap you set for yourself. For four years India has been celebrating becoming a “natural strategic ally” of the US, but has let its military decline. You can’t plan high strategy while your military remains tactical, border defence oriented.”

Read his column here.

“No”, countered Harsh Gupta:

He argued, “Surprisingly, despite writing that the Modi government “only” has itself to blame in the headline, he [Shekhar] goes on to write, and accurately so, that “two external negatives were not the Modi government’s fault: The rise of Trump and a new Chinese assertion”. So yes, the behaviour of the two most powerful countries in the world have changed significantly, but still the Indian government has only itself to blame for foreign policy volatility! It is like saying “Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?””

Read his column here.