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India hopes outcomes of Trump-Kim summit would be ‘implemented’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Trump-Kim summit opens up diplomatic opportunities for India. New Delhi was quick to welcome the US-North Korea summit in Singapore, describing it as a “positive development” and hoping the “outcomes would be implemented, thus paving the way for lasting peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.”

India’s interest in the summit was also encapsulated in the MEA’s reaction — “We also hope that the resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue will take into account and address our concerns about proliferation linkages extending to India’s neighbourhood.”

Indian observers never really expected any big deliverables from today’s summit. But the very fact that the two leaders of the US and North Korea — virtually at war for decades — decided to meet and work out a denuclearization plan is significant. India does not seriously expect that Kim will voluntarily dismantle his nuclear weapons — after the Libya experience, where former leader Gaddafi gave up his nukes, only to be hunted down and killed by US-supported militia — this may be a bridge too far. But if North Korea opens up gradually to become a more mainstream nation, India reckons it may become easier for Kim to give up his weapons.

Weeks before the summit, India used the opportunity provided by the new openness to send the minister of state for external affairs VK Singh to the isolated nation. India used to be the third largest trading partner for North Korea until the sanctions bit and India clamped down. While most of those sanctions remain in place, India would be looking to exploit whatever opportunity finds its way.

In addition, India would hope that denuclearization would help to expose the proliferation conduits between North Korea, China and Pakistan that has been largely responsible for setting Pakistan off on its missile race. India has a stated policy of not wanting to add more nuclear weapons states to the world, and that has remained its approach even for Iran.

A bonus for today’s summit is that direct relations between North Korea and the US would dampen China’s influence somewhat, though not completely. It must be remembered that Kim took off from Pyongyang on a Chinese jet, apparently bound for Beijing, which changed direction midway and went to Singapore instead. That kind of influence is hard to beat, but the important thing is there is a breach, and that’s all for the good, as far as India is concerned.

India also reckons that there would be setbacks to putting a denuclearization package together. The removal of sanctions too would not be easy or be done anytime soon. But for the present, Trump has got himself a big foreign policy moment-in-the-sun.

Updated: June 12, 2018 — 8:02 pm

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