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Fake Mediator


US President Donald Trump continued with his disruptive ways when, at a joint press conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, he made the preposterous claim that PM Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue. Imran Khan, who was crawling when asked to bend before the US to obtain financial relief, was visibly pleased with this development, but exhibited equal ignorance as the US President when more than once he guesstimated the population of South Asia wrong – one and a quarter billion, then ‘over a billion people’. Such are the kind of persons who decide the fate of their peoples!
This incident also opened up a pit for India’s opposition to fall into and it promptly did. And, then, the Congress leaders ask why they did not get the people’s votes in the General Elections. A fuss was made in the two houses of Parliament and, while, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House soon after the Government’s position was read out by the Foreign Minister, the Congress was given enough opportunity by LS Speaker Om Birla to embarrass itself. The people of the country saw for themselves how the party’s leaders gave credence to a habitual gaffemeister like Trump over the nation’s Prime Minister. They were hoping that some political mileage could be obtained by embarrassing Modi on a subject that has been the cornerstone of not just his foreign policy, but also his electoral campaign. Such is the dislike for ‘upstart’ Modi that even an opportunity to be graceful and staunchly patriotic is overlooked.
The reason why the Prime Minister cannot make the issue personal by calling out Trump on his inventive imagination is that India and the US have much more important issues to deal with. The global economy, on which India pins its hopes to reach the 5 trillion dollar goal, is being hugely challenged by trade wars and confrontational politics erupting in just about every region. The American Establishment knows very well that it would be a disaster for them if India is forced into China’s corner. If the two countries could build on the synergies between them, the US would come out a poor second. It is only the distrust generated by past experience that keeps this from happening. A few more blunders like the ‘mediation’ one could force India’s hand. The result would be loss of influence for the US in the entire area between the Gulf and Japan. It is not in Trump’s nature to admit his mistakes, but he will need to be more careful with India in the future.