Defence and counter-terrorism would be two key pillars of Indo-US strategic ties under Donald Trump, his top military advisor has said while asserting that India will be “absolutely critical” to the Republican candidate’s foreign policy as president. “This is a country that shares our values, this is a country that shares a lot of geo-political interest and I think, his (Trump’s) work is going to be continuing the tradition of Bush Administration which made a lot of progress in that regard,” Alexander Gray, a senior military advisor and author of several of the ambitious defence policies of Trump, told PTI.
“We (Trump Administration) would be looking to strengthen not just the cultural and economic aspect, but also on the defence side there is so much common ground with India. At a time when India’s foreign policy is changing because of China and Pakistan, because of Islamic terrorism, we need to be there to greet them with open arms. I think, the Trump Administration is ready to do that,” Gray said giving an insight into the India policy of a possible Trump administration.
Trump is the only presidential candidate to have addressed a meeting of Indian Americans and directly spoken about a strong India-US relationship.
Gray, who has emerged as a key player in evolving the defence and military policies of the Trump Campaign, said India would be “absolutely critical” in Trump’s foreign policy.
Co-author of a major policy paper on ‘Donald Trump’s Peace Through Strength Vision for the Asia Pacific’ which was published in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine, Gray said India is “on top of the list” of Trump’s Indo-Asia Pacific policy to which the defence aspect would be an important pillar.
“Strengthening defence relationship with India would be at top. This is what the Congress has been looking at for a long time,” he said, indicating that a Trump Administration would be looking at legislative changes towards strengthening India-US defense ties.
“The Trump Administration would not give a passage to what China is doing in South China Sea, what it is doing in East China Sea, what it is doing along the border in India,” Gray said in response to a question.
A strong partnership with US would deter China from making any aggressive posture against India, said Puneet Ahluwalia, a member of the Trump’s Advisory Committee on Asian Americans.
“A strong US defence with India would give India much dependable ally to fight of threats from its neighbours and from terrorism by creating strong navy and latest technology in cyber and other areas,” he said.
Ahluwalia, a Washington DC-based lobbyist, said he will work aggressively with the Trump Administration and the Pentagon to remove the obstacles in regards to transfer of technology and enhance defence trade and develop the blue economy.