President Donald Trump speaks about small businesses while daughter and advisor to the President Ivanka Trump listens, during event in the East Room at the White House, Aug. 1, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The Trump administration’s ‘America First’ policy is not at the exclusion of the rest of the world, a senior White House official has said, ruling out any conflict it may have with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, writes Lalit K Jha.
India and the U.S. are co-hosting the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad next week, in which 1,500 entrepreneurs from 170 countries and 350 participants from the U.S., a large number of whom are Indian Americans, will take part.
President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump, 36, will lead a high-powered American delegation of officials, women entrepreneurs and businessmen for the summit beginning Nov. 28.
“We continue to be very engaged all over the world and having an ‘America First’ philosophy is not exclusive of collaboration, partnership and strong economic security and social relationships around the world,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of the next week’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad which is being co-hosted by India and the U.S.
Ahead of the summit, the official was responding to a question on potential conflict between ‘Make in India’ and ‘America First.’
“America First is not at the exclusion of the rest of the world. Most governments prioritize the people of their country, but that does not mean that they operate in a vacuum and are not very engaged in the rest of the globe. And clearly, the U.S. is a leader in that capacity and has remained a leader in that capacity,” the official said.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the White House, President Trump expressed the sentiment that India has a great friend and partner in the United States, and that the U.S. would like to grow their economic and security partnership.
“This is part of that goal of creating a stronger relationship, but also going into the world and recognizing the important impact that our leadership has and the importance of investing in entrepreneurship to create economic opportunity in our own country and abroad. We have seen that consistently,” the official said.
According to another official, Trump himself has stated just how strong the United States-India partnership is, and clearly one of those fundamental, foundational pillars of that relationship is our economic and commercial ties.
The two-way trade between the U.S. and India has hit a record of over $114 billion, and foreign direct investment stocks in both directions are about $40 billion.
“The president and the prime minister firmly committed to expand that bilateral trade relationship but to make sure that it was expanded in a fair, balanced and reciprocal manner to address some of the market access impediments that U.S. firms have. We are thrilled to see that India has begun purchases of U.S. crude. They are planning to buy U.S. LNG and such,” he said.
All the senior administration officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Observing that the potential of this economic partnership is really enormous, the official said many of the American companies are household names in India, and Indian companies are increasingly looking to invest in the United States.
“A natural really result of the economic and strategic partnership that the two countries have and the fact that entrepreneurship, innovation, is a hallmark of both our societies, so it was a natural fit and a natural outflow of where we are in our partnership with India,” another official said.
The ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched by Prime Minister Modi in September 2014 with the primary goal of making India a global manufacturing hub.
President Trump’s ‘America First’ is a foreign policy focused on American interests and American national security.
It also encourages hiring Americans.