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Thomas Gallatin / February 26, 2020

Trump’s Successful India Trip

Signing an arms deal and laying groundwork for a trade deal with the world’s largest democracy.

President Donald Trump spent the last two days in India, where he was cheered at a massive rally in his honor and inked a $3 billion arms sale with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “You have done a great honor to our country,” Trump told the cheering crowd. “We will remember you forever. From this day onwards India will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

“As we continue to build our defense cooperation,” Trump continued, “the United States looks forward to providing India with some of the best and most feared military equipment on the planet.” The arms deal includes the U.S. selling India roughly $3 billion in military helicopters.

It was a largely successful trip for Trump, who is seeking to exploit the growing regional tension between China and India by working toward solidifying a long-term trade deal with the latter. “We will be making very, very major — among the biggest ever made — trade deals,” Trump pledged. “We are in the early stages of discussion for an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investment between the United States and India. And I am optimistic that working together, the prime minister and I can reach a fantastic deal that’s good and even great for both of our countries — except that [Modi] is a very tough negotiator.”

India is one of the few foreign countries where Trump enjoys a high favorability rating, and he is clearly looking to use his popularity to develop a closer relationship with India. As Power Line’s John Hinderaker observes, “The main news to emerge from Trump’s visit so far is a $3 billion helicopter sale, part of a move toward making the U.S. ‘the premier defense partner of India.’ While it has been lost in the minutiae of political press coverage, this military purchase reflects one of the most important global developments of recent years. During its early years of independence and throughout most if not all of the Cold War, India was a socialist-leaning and Russia-oriented ‘nonaligned’ nation. More recently, India has adopted more progressive, free-market economic policies, and has turned decisively toward the West. Its alliance with the United States is one of the most positive geopolitical developments of recent years, and it is properly being celebrated by President Trump.”

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