US President Trump is absolutely ignorant of the fact that India and China share a border—a comment that has left the Indian PM Modi flabbergasted and in utter shock. This claim has been put forward by a new book titled ‘A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America’ by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, of the Washington Post.
The 417-page book chronicles the President’s poor sense of history and geography and also brings to the limelight “Trump at his most unvarnished, also expose how decision-making in his administration has been driven by one man’s self-centred and unthinking logic — but a logic nonetheless” in his 3-year Presidential tenure, as described by the authors.
The Washington Post previewed the book before its release scheduled on January 21, where this gaffe was revealed. Excerpts mention that in a meeting, Trump told Modi “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border”, and as a result, Modi’s eyes “bulged out in surprise”, and his expression “gradually shifted, from shock and concern to resignation”, followed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson covering his face partly and gesturing Modi without Trump’s acknowledgement.
The book quotes a Trump-aide who says that Modi probably “left that meeting and said, ‘This is not a serious man. I cannot count on this man as a partner.” He also claims that “the Indians took a step back in their diplomatic relations with the United States”. However, according to all reports, India-USA relations have grown strong over time and last year’s “Howdy Modi” event in Houston, is a piece of glowing evidence. Trump is also expected to visit India this February. The time of the meeting, as mentioned above, has not been made clear though.
For the record, India and China share a 4056 km long Sino-Indian border including Line of Actual Control which is long-disputed, with the countries engaging into war and their relations becoming tense.
The basis of the book is the moniker given by Trump to himself following a news segment aired by Fox News about Trump’s mental health. Trump tweeted, “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart… I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star… to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius…and a very stable genius at that!”
Trump’s limited geopolitical knowledge had previously surfaced when he stated that he “knew” that Nepal and Bhutan were parts of India and mispronounced the country names as “nipple” and “button” respectively. His lack of historical knowledge had been highlighted in the book—the authors write that Trump during his visit to Pearl Harbour pretended to understand the significance of the site, but was not adequately informed about the same. Trump’s continuous interjections in the Kashmir issue, offering his help in mediating between India and Pakistan, further emphasise his “dangerously uninformed” nature.
As the news started making rounds, the Google search rate regarding “India China border” spiked alarmingly to make sure if the countries actually shared a border. Nonetheless, this claim of the book has definitely hiked public interest and caught the attention of the crowd becoming a trending topic overnight.