Kamran Bokhari, senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy, sits down with Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, to talk about South Asia and the Trump Administration’s foreign policy priorities.
South Asia has not been at the top of Washington’s agenda for some time, but U.S. President Donald Trump will at least have to make a decision about keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Kugelman believes Trump does not want to get involved in an open-ended military commitment to Afghanistan but will listen to his generals about what needs to be done in the ongoing conflict there. Though Trump has labeled Islamist extremist violence as a chief threat, his generals and other advisers could encourage the president to support a negotiated peace with the Taliban.
Trump’s policies toward Pakistan are likely to be friendly but cautious. This level of cooperation between Washington and Islamabad is not likely to sour the U.S.-Indian relationship, Kugelman says, because that alliance is already so strong. India is the world’s largest democracy, Kugelman points out, and is an important ally for the United States to have both politically and economically. Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi already seem to have a good relationship, and the ties between Washington and New Delhi are likely to grow stronger.