A joint statement — titled ‘United States and India: Prosperity through Partnership’ after the much-awaited Modi-Trump meeting projects the intent between the two countries. Clearly, it highlights the homework undertaken before the summit, and the authors of the statement have taken care in addressing the interests of both leaders and two countries. Keeping the rhetoric away, how much meat is there in the statement? Outside the statement, are India and the US finally ready to leap forward and make the relationship truly strategic? The second question is important, given the reservations on Trump. A section inside India has been apprehensive about Trump’s inward looking approaches, especially the slogan ‘make America great again’, and its implications for India. Besides, Trump did make few statements on climate change and India, which did become a cause of worry.First, let us keep the rhetoric and stories of personal chemistry away. India and the US may be two big countries and share liberal values. As Trump mentioned in his statement, both the constitutions begin with “the same three beautiful words: We the people”. Trump took an extra step and said: “I am thrilled to salute you, Prime Minister Modi and the Indian people for all that you accomplishing together.” But those issues do not matter in the real politic. Strategic relationship is all about content and not ideals and values. Clearly, India and US have divergent road maps. Yet, there are areas convergence, keeping in mind each other’s sensitivities and yielding to it partially. More importantly, they have succeeded in zeroing in those areas which are a win-win for both. India’s external ministry needs to be congratulated for its homework; the summit was productive and broad based; and not obsessed on few issues — terrorism, China and Pakistan.Second, economy and trade are likely to become an important bilateral issue for both in the next decade; hence, occupies substantial part of the joint statement. Trump didn’t fail to mention India’s order of 100 new planes from the US that will support “thousands and thousands of American jobs”. So would be other purchases on the defence sector as well. India and the US are likely to expand this process further and more announcement are expected when Trump’s daughter Ivanka leads the US delegation for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be held later this year in India. Modi in his statement said: “We consider the USA as our primary partner for India’s social and economic transformation in all our flagship programmes and schemes. I’m sure that the convergence between my vision of a new India and President Trump’s vision for making America great again will add new dimension to our cooperation.” The joint statement has a long list of items under “increasing free and fair trade” – covering job creation, review of trade relations, Indo-US energy ties, cyber cooperation etc.More announcements are expected when Trump’s daughter Ivanka leads the US delegation for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be held later this year in IndiaThird, no other issue would have brought them together as the defence purchases by India. Trump is only too happy to sell as much as he could, for it is all about “American jobs” for him; for India, it adds power to its arsenal. The joint statement underlines the pledge between the two countries to “deepen defence and security cooperation” building US “recognition of India as a Major Defense Partner”.Fourth, both Trump and Modi converged on Afghanistan; the statement says: “President Trump welcomed further Indian contributions to promote Afghanistan’s democracy, stability, prosperity and security.” India will only be too happy to have an enlarged presence in Afghanistan. India has already made investments towards this. The tricky question for India would be — if New Delhi is asked to support the Afghan process by providing Indian ground troops. The debate today in India is more nuanced than the previous years on the subject.Fifth, on China, the US is cautious. Given Trump’s position towards China, the joint statement did not cover much on the subject, but did address each other’s concerns. On the Indo-Pacific, the point on reiterating the importance of respecting freedom of navigation and calling nations “to resolve territorial disputes and maritime disputes peacefully” is clearly related to South China Sea. Another point on “bolstering regional economic connectivity through the transparent development of infrastructure… while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity” is clearly supporting India’s position on the OBOR. While US may play a cautious role in the OBOR, India will do the same with South China Sea dispute. Both will be cautious.Finally, on Pakistan, a section India would like to consider the statement calling on Islamabad to “ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries” as a highlight. Unfortunately, there is an extra focus in India about the mentioning of terrorist groups in the statement, including Hizbul Mujahideen. The above narrow focus by a section in India on Pakistan and terrorism does not do justice to the larger issues.The recent summit highlights a continuation in the Indo-US strategic path. Perhaps, as Modi hinted in one of his earlier visits to the US, the hesitations of history is finally over for India. The author is a Professor and Dean at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bangalore. He edits annual titled Armed Conflicts in South Asia and runs a portal on Pakistan — www.pakistanreader.org Published in Daily Times, June 30th, 2017.