During the US presidential campaign, Donald Trump was savaged for his lack of international experience and often eccentric comments on US foreign policy.
While his foreign policy team has fewer well-known names, the evidence is that most of the senior positions are not without qualifications.
The names around whom there is the greatest buzz:
A retired three-star general who headed the Defence Intelligence Agency who is so close to Trump that he was
considered a possible vice-presidential candidate. Resigned from the Obama administration because of its claims that Al Qaeda was no longer a threat. One of his country’s leading hawks on Islamist terrorism. Has called for US to work with Russia and revive ties with friendly Arab states to fight the Islamic State. Seen as a possible national security advisor. One of the many registered Democrats in the Trump team.
INDIA will be facing a man who knows about the Haqqani network and Lashkar e Tayyeba but must reinforce Pakistan’s perfidy in promoting terrorism.
A former Republican legislator with long mainstream credentials. He argues Trump is “neither hawk nor dove, but owl” on the foreign policy spectrum. Believes in a more aggressive US diplomatic and military posture,but one used “more cautiously and more selectively.” Has publicly said he believes the Pakistani system gave safe haven to Osama Bin Laden but unenthusiastic about US role in Afghanistan. Fascinated with big picture impacts of technology and geopolitics. Equipped with a doctorate but often criticised for ideological flip-flops, Gingrich is the closest thing to a statesman Trump will have.
INDIA needs to stimulate his mind, explain on broad canvas how the India-US relationship should be the cornerstone of the 21st century. And take him to the Infosys campus in Bangalore.
US senator who chaired Trump’s national security advisory team during the campaign. Sessions, as a member of the Senate armed services committee, led the campaign against allowing Syrian refugees into the US and is seen as a likely secretary for homeland security.
INDIA should hand over as many dossiers on Pakistan’s links to terror as he can hold.
President George W. Bush’s national security advisor from 2005 to 2009 and one of the few mainstream Republicans who declined to denounce Trump.
One of the key architects of the Indo-US nuclear deal, New Delhi would be reassured if he gets a senior position in a Trump administration. Pentagon chief is among the positions that he is reportedly being considered for.
INDIA has to work with him on how best to further the Bush legacy towards India that he helped construct.
A University of California, Irvine economist who has emerged as a key Asia-Pacific strategist for Trump. Argues for the US and its Asian allies to massively increase their military presence in the Western Pacific.
Once a member of the Democratic Party and served the Peace Corps in Southeast Asia.
INDIA needs to stress how its policy of “strategic autonomy” is the perfect match for a Trump policy that wants other countries to share the burden of global security.
A former member of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, a pro-Israeli organisation that has spearheaded campaigns against the Iran nuclear deal and Hamas.
One of a number of fringe analysts on Trump’s team who obsesses about Muslim attempts to impose the Sharia law within the US.
INDIA being ruled by a Hindu nationalist party and being so close to Israel should keep us in his good books.
A retired lieutenant general who was operating officer for the US’s occupational authority in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.
The US occupation during the time proved a failure. Kellogg later worked for private defence consultancies. May not actually take an administration position.
INDIA will have to outline its new West Asia engagement and stress its burgeoning defence relationship with the US.
An ex-Merrill Lynch oil and gas man who worked in the Caspian Sea region. One of the many businessmen who are part of Trump’s circle. Strong advocate of closer ties with Russia, but don’t expect him to be supportive of green energy given his background.
INDIA will say how much it agrees with a rapprochement with Russia but also that clean energy is also good geopolitics.