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Will Trump ask Modi the impossible?

There are concerns that the newly anointed US President may ask India to put boots on the ground in AfghanistanHardnews Bureau Delhi

There was understandable anxiety in India???s foreign policy establishment when US President Donald Trump announced that he would be placing a call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the night of January 24 ??? two days before Republic Day. The phone call, which was described as a ???great conversation??? by one of Trump???s aides, did not elicit a similar gushy response from the Indian side. The readout or the press release of the discussion came from Washington. Quite clearly, the Indian side did not have much to offer beyond informing the media that Modi had accepted Trump???s invitation to visit the US soon. His trip could be as early as in March or April, but its outcome will depend on the content of the telephonic conversation between the two leaders.

The readout from Washington suggests that they discussed broad areas of cooperation in defence and the economy. They also discussed security in South and Central Asia and ???resolved to stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism???. Although this bit of the statement sounds innocuous enough, the back story gives it a different spin.

Hardnews has learnt that the Trump administration put in some work before Trump dialled Modi???s number on January 24. Trump???s aides spoke with some eminent Indians in Washington and Delhi. The newly anointed President, it is learnt, is likely to offer India an opportunity to be a frontline state in



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