Modi-Trump summit: Hugs, business and support for India
hugs and handshakes are markers to personal and bilateral relationships, then the first get-to-know meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump seems to have been singularly successful. The optics -- as seen on TV -- showed Trump proffering his hand of friendship to Modi -- he called him a "true friend" more than once in the course of the day -- after their meeting in the Oval Office, and then shaking his hand and hugging him at the end of their media appearance at the Rose Garden.
This was followed by more hugs and handshakes while seeing Modi off at the end of a four-hour interaction and working dinner, the first Trump has offered at the White House for a visiting leader since becoming President on January 20.
What is the takeaway for India -- and the region -- for this maiden Indo-US summit meeting in the Trump era? One, Trump wants to largely continue the "strategic partnership" and "Major Defense Partner" relationship with India that was begun by his Republican predecessor George W Bush and continued by Democrat Barack Obama; two, with sharp business instincts, with economy and jobs his primary motivation, Trump thinks he can do business with India.