Binoo Joshi

Donald Trump  was sworn-in  as 45th President of the United States of America with all the pomp and show and  also the typical American traditions that have been part of the Inauguration ceremonies since the times of George Washington in 1789. But the  January 20, 2017 ceremony  was  different  as it was marked with questions, will the new President will repair the polarized relations between communities in the diverse country , shifting away from his campaign days.

This is very crucial for the world. America still is the most powerful democracy and economy  and dominates the world affairs, despite the mounting challenge by China . Its  President is seen as the most powerful man who has bigger say in the  global events and much of  destiny of the world is shaped  by his decision to act or otherwise. The most glaring example is Syria, a  nation torn by civil war and a theatre of  flexing of muscles by Russia, Turkey , Iran and several other nations. The American  inaction   brought the nation to the path of destruction under which it is reeling today.

Trump’ presidency beginning Friday  will have great impact on South Asia. Some of the  hotspots of the world are in this region. Afghanistan is far from being  stabilized despite  relentless campaign by the US and its allied forces for  more than 15 years in fighting Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Both the deadly groups are  there causing almost daily mayhem in Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan. American efforts have failed to  succeed  primarily because of its lack of understanding of the tribal harmony  in the trouble-torn country , as also because of  Pakistan’s  uninterrupted  interference in the affairs of  Afghanistan and total support to the destabilizing forces by  actively supporting the terror oriented  suicide bombs . Taliban was created by Pakistan. This fact was admitted by former President of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf who ruled the country for almost  nine years from 1999- 2008)

America of George Bush  had coopted  as a partner  in war against terrorism  after the 9/11 , in the hope that  Pakistan’s geo-strategic location and its spy  agency  ISI’s deep involvement with Taliban. would help  turn  tables against the  terror groups responsible for the worst terror attack on the American soil . But Pakistan  proved to be unreliable ally . It worked both ways. It transferred American  dollars to the  terror groups used as foreign policy tool against India and Afghanistan .

America would have to  watch  this threat closely. President  Barack Obama sent powerful message to Islamabad when he did not make even a single visit to Pakistan during  his eight-year tenure. Instead, he had appointed Richard Holbrooke  as a mediator for   Afghanistan- Pakistan. Richard’s plea that Kashmir be made part of his assignment was rejected .

Donald Trump will have  to see how he tackles these  issues in South Asia. The  Narendra Modi government should not draw any complacency from the campaign-day utterances of Donald Trump against Muslims and terrorists . Finally, he knows that he would be known the way he conducts himself as President . Kashmir is indeed an Achilles’ Heel of India . This fact should not be ignored. Modi  would do well if he takes care of the nation’s problems himself instead of relying on the continuation of Obama-like friendship with Trump. That may not  be sufficient . India has distanced a good fried in Russia . There  are hardly any shoulders to  bank upon. Trump is a businessman. He would look for furthering his country’s interests first , rather than obliging friends  and run risk of failing his nation’s interests.