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After Modi-Trump duet, reality check lies ahead

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The Narendra Modi government ended the constitutional guarantees of limited autonomy for Kashmir by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A on August 5. The Valley was locked down and mainstream Kashmiri leaders interned. Farooq Abdullah, the veteran leader, nationalist and a former CM, was detained under the draconian Public Safety Act.

The government assiduously denies that the situation in the Valley, particularly Srinagar, is not normal. Against this background, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his America visit on Sunday in Houston, the world’s energy capital. On arrival, he met the top honchos of energy giants. The US is today a major producer and exporter of oil and gas. After the Saudi oil processing facility at Abqaiq was attacked on September 14, 5.7 million barrels per day went off the market. President Donald Trump said the US would fill the gap and did so by releasing oil from America’s strategic reserves. India’s purchase agreement for five million tons of LNG per year diversifies Indian supplies, reducing its dependence on Qatar, subject to the periodic fear of a US-Saudi standoff disrupting Gulf energy supplies. It also addresses US President Trump’s constant refrain that trade is in India’s favour and needs rebalancing.

Before the “Howdy, Modi” rally in Houston, attended by 50,000, mostly Indian-Americans, the US state department’s South Asia bureau tweeted that the US President joining the event “is a truly historic tribute to the contributions of the Indian-American community to the prosperity of our country and the strength of US-India relations”. Clearly, US diplomats wanted to attribute the hoopla to the Indian diaspora’s success rather than geostrategic factors. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, standing in........

© The Asian Age