Quietly, all but unheralded, Donald Trump has begun tilting significantly away from Pakistan and toward another South Asian ally — a counterweight to China that could help tip the balance, particularly in the region’s potentially most sensitive flashpoint, the South China Sea. That enemy of my enemy is India, and it is not an inconsiderable friend to have. At the same time, though, Trump’s actions have opened another door to a resurgent China that could prove even more dangerous down the road.
So, when did this relationship with India develop? The United States and India have been allies for a while, but Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have significantly strengthened their bonds over the few months. Modi visited Trump in Washington last June, kicking off a new set of talks between the nations. And then at November’s ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, Philippines, the two leaders resolved to strengthen the US-India defense partnership, discussed expanding Indian oil imports from the United States to help shrink the trade gap and agreed to expand a supply line to Afghanistan that India was developing.