US President Donald Trump on Friday praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his reform initiatives, in signs that he will be pushing for India's membership to the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) at its summit early next week.
Addressing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit of chief executives in Vietnam, the US President commended India for being the world's largest democracy and for achieving "astounding" growth.
He praised PM Modi for bringing the country's people "together as one...very, very successfully."
At the same time, Trump warned China against trade practices that he said have put Americans out of work and warned that the US would no longer "turn a blind eye'' to trade abuses.
Trump's comments come ahead of next week's meeting of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines.
Both Prime Minister Modi and President Trump will be at the APEC summit in Manila.
India's inclusion into APEC would give a boost to the country's economy and give India a stronger control and a better standing in its relationship with China. It would also help the United States realise its strategic objective of involving India more fully into the regional power equation.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Dennis Wilder, former high ranking CIA expert on China and currently professor of Asian Studies at the Georgetown University in Washington, DC, said, ''This idea has been kicking around between the US, Japan, Australia and India for a while. I think President Trump and Prime Minister Modi have a very good relationship and when they meet in Manila they will discuss APEC. The US will take a stand and be vocal about India's participation and the importance of India joining the forum.''
A communique issued from Tokyo during the first leg of President Trump's Asia tour had mentioned of a discussion that came up on the Indo-Pacific concept and the need to work on infrastructure on the lines of China's One Belt, One Road project,'' Wilder pointed out in the interview. ''Indo- Pacific is the new geopolitical word game that is being played out by the US lately. Trump administration officials have started to refer to Asia as the 'Indo-Pacific,' rather than the 'Asia-Pacific' region.
In the Indo-Pacific Worldview of the Trump Administration India plays an important role.
Chinese experts, however, consider 'Indo Pacific' wordplay as a containment strategy and the Chinese were quick to renounce it as an Indo-US alliance and a containment strategy.
President Trump in his speech in Vietnam has initiated the process by praising India's growth story and this say experts is a clear signal from the US government to the Modi government to come forward.