Summit part of US drive to balance China, India

By Mei Xinyu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/20 0:33:39

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT

Ivanka Trump appeared as the President Adviser at the Eighth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India's fourth-largest city, Hyderabad. Her speech on November 29 showed her personal charm to the fullest.

But for those who are concerned about international issues, it is not difficult to perceive the US strategic balance between China and India.

Indeed, from an economic point of view, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which aims to establish a channel of communication between entrepreneurs and investors and promote innovative entrepreneurship, has been valuable.

Since its first session in Washington in 2010, the summit has been held in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Morocco, Kenya and other locations, attracting nearly 20,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries.

However, the platform, which was sponsored personally by former US president Barack Obama, is ultimately a tool of US foreign policy and will inevitably be used to implement some of the US' foreign strategic objectives. That may explain why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the time to take part in the Eighth Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which coincides with the election campaign in the state of Gujarat. Modi came to the summit because it is actually an important diplomatic activity with strategic significance, held together by India and the US.

The US inevitably has strong suspicions about the emerging power that is China, and the best strategy to curb the emerging power is to put pressure on it by using other countries' hands. India is probably the nation that is the most eager to compete with China, thus it has strong intrinsic motivation to check and balance China by resorting to other countries.

Since the US is still the first sole superpower, the major importing country and the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the world, India needs to make full use of the US market, capital and talent to serve its own economic development.

All the above show it is inevitable that Indian leaders will aim to strengthen their ties with the decision-making core of the US, to improve relations with the superpower and achieve broad, deep mutual understanding. The influence of Ivanka and her husband on US President Donald Trump is widely known in the world. They are key figures of the core decision-making body of the US, not only relatives of the president. Ivanka is regarded by some as a possible future presidential candidate, so the opportunity to cultivate a closer relationship with her shouldn't be missed.

At the meeting, Ivanka spoke of Modi in glowing terms, but this was also controversial in the political arena of India. Congress spokesman Anand Sharma questioned why Modi needed compliments from outsiders like Ivanka Trump and asserted that Modi's attendance at this meeting had lowered his profile.

Sharma also said that the presence of local officials would have been enough for the conference and it was not necessary to offer excessive courtesy for Ivanka, as she is not a senior US government official. Such a statement is actually derived from India's domestic party struggles.

Looking through the whole arrangement, this forum can be said as a tacit diplomatic initiative of strategic significance. Why? The Trump family is very popular in China, especially Ivanka and her daughter Arabella. This is in fact a play of an offshore counterbalance game between China and India.

Ivanka's speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit about the dilemma facing female entrepreneurs seems irrelevant to the international strategy, but what matters is the diplomatic goals that the US hoped to achieve through this activity. While India's own strength was not enough to win a visit by President Trump, maintaining a friendly relationship with Ivanka and fully exploring the potential of the concept of the "Indo-Pacific" proposed by the US is hugely relevant to India.

The author is a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.


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