How the United States' regional strategy for South Asia under President Donald Trump is different from that under former US President Barak Obama? Discuss while underlining the progress in bilateral relations between India and US during last two years.
One of the aspects of new strategy is expansion of American military in South Asia which is opposite to previous strategy under Obama. For example, the Obama administration was intent on drawing troops and that to within a short a specified time frame but recent strategy of Trump will lead to deployment of additional 4000 soldiers to train Afghan forces.
Second, Trump’s view towards Pakistan has changed drastically from Obama. Making strong focus on Pakistan to make sure it acts in accordance with its commitments particularly with respect to terrorism, shows a break in status-quo in US-PAK relations. Also Trump’s administration decided to keep $255 million in military assistance to Pakistan in suspension until Islamabad demonstrates action against terrorist groups. However, this is a continuation of the Obama administration’s policy. In 2015 and 2016, it had held back part of reimbursements to Pakistan from the Coalition Support Funds.
With respect to India, the strategy clearly mentions that increasing US relations with India and highlighted the increased role to be played by India for maintaining stability and peace in Afghanistan.
Progress in bilateral relations between India and US during last two years
In last two years, the two countries have signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) which permits the military of either country to use the others’ bases for re-supplying or carrying out repairs. The US designated India as a major defence partner which brings India at par with closest American partners of defence trade and technology transfer. US House of Representatives also passed a 621.5 billion dollars policy that proposed to advance defence cooperation with India.
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