The Dossier by IndraStra: Perspectives on Trump's South Asia Policy

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On August 21, 2017, United States' President Donald Trump provided the roadmap to America's next South Asia strategy, mainly centered on America‟s Afghanistan Policy. Given the United States, longtime involvement in the region, America‟s Afghanistan policy plays a keyrole in United States overall foreign policy. Given the primacy attached, Trump‟s speech reflected two very significant factors: First, there was a clear identification and condemnation of Pakistan as a significant actor contributing to terrorism. Secondly, there was greater confidence expressed in India‟s role in the region at large and Afghanistan in particular.

Keeping this context, the present series attempts to articulate three key questions:

1. What does Trump's new South Asia policy hold for U.S., India, and China?

2. Is there a continuity/change in America's policy and what can be further expected?

3. What will be the larger implications of Trump's new South Asia policy, if any?

To address the queries, the series is divided into three perspectives- American, Indian and Chinese.

Reflecting on America's foreign policy under the Trump administration, Dr. Monish Tourangbam argues that the new U.S. strategy on Afghanistan is designed to avoid losing, rather than winning in Afghanistan.

While arguing from an Indian perspective, Tridivesh Singh Maini suggests that while it is tough to predict how U.S. policy will pan out towards Afghanistan, one major shift in Trump's approach is that unlike previous U.S. administration's, he has not really drawn any red lines for India‟s role in Afghanistan.

Drawing on the Chinese perspective, Dr. Sriparna Pathak argues that as China shares an "all-weather friendship" with Pakistan, public shaming of Pakistan for shielding terrorists is clearly not something that is acceptable to China. However, with respect to terrorism, China has its own woes emanating primarily from its Xinjiang province. Therefore, the American policy in South Asia, which in all probability will see greater American involvement in the region, will have to be carefully considered by the foreign policy mandarins in Beijing.

Amrita Jash, Editor-in-Chief, IndraStra Global

 

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About the author (2017)

Dr. Monish Tourangbam is Assistant Professor at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations at Manipal University, Karnataka, India. He also currently a South Asian Voices Visiting Fellow at the South Asia Program, Stimson Center, Washington D.C. He is the Features Editor (Foreign Policy) for the Science, Technology, and Security Forum (stsfor.org). In addition to teaching, he conducts policy and academic research on strategic and international security issues. His research interests include U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, U.S. domestic politics, the United States in the emerging geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. policy towards South Asia, strategy and negotiations in international relations and India‟s foreign policy orientation.

Tridivesh Singh Maini is a New Delhi based Policy Analyst. He is an Assistant Professor with The Jindal School of International Affairs, OP Jindal Global University, Sonepat, Haryana. He is a former SAV Visiting Fellow (Winter 2016) with the Stimson Center, Washington DC. Maini was also an Asia Society India-Pakistan Regional Young Leaders Initiative (IPRYLI) Fellow (2013-2014). His research interests include; Changing nature of Indian Federalism, The role of state governments in Indian Foreign Policy and The India-Pakistan-China triangle. Maini is a regular contributor to a number of publications including The Quint, The Diplomat, and DailyO.

Dr. Sriparna Pathak is an Assistant Professor at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Assam Don Bosco University, Tapesia Campus, Guwahati, Assam, India. Prior to this, she was a Consultant at the Policy Planning and Research Division at the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. Also, She is a Fellow at the South Asia Democratic Forum in Brussels, Belgium.

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