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Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

What would US President Donald Trump mean for PM Modi and Indians

by November 9, 2016 General
NEW DELHI: Shortly after Donald Trump’s stunning victory in one of the most decisive electoral battles in recent American history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Republican leader for his spectacular win.

Appreciating the “friendship” articulated by Trump towards India during his election campaigns, PM Modi said that the government looks forward to working with him closely “to take India-US bilateral ties to a new height”.

And as far as India-US bilateral ties are concerned, here is an overview of what the President-elect thinks about India:

The good

When it comes to dealing with India’s ‘bad-neighbour- Pakistan, the Modi government would likely find one of its biggest allies in Trump. Trump, during his campaigning days, had talked about terrorism and Pakistan in particular on various occasions.

“When will Pakistan apologize to us for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden for 6 years?! Some ally,” he once tweeted.

In September, on an American radio show, Trump had called Pakistan “probably the most dangerous” country in the world today, adding that the only country that can “check” Pakistan is India.

Pakistan is “a serious problem” because they have nuclear weapons that work and “a lot of them”, just like North Korea and its “mad man”, Trump explained.

This sentiment is consistent with Prime Minister Modi’s firm stand on Pakistan’s support to state-sponsored terrorism. Since the Uri attack, the Prime Minister has taken up every opportunity on international platforms to name-and-shame Islamabad, for being a “safe haven to terrorists”.

In wake of recent terror attacks and India’s hard stance against Pakistan, Trump’s views on the country might be welcome by the Modi government.

Trump’s opinion on India has largely been positive. He recently attended an event organised by a Hindu group in the US, and proclaimed his love for India, saying, “I love Hindus”. How that might go with the non-Hindu Indians is hard to say.

The bad

“I know the outer world exists… But at what point do you say, ‘Hey, we have to take care of ourselves,” The Washington Post had quoted Trump as saying.

This implies serious ramifications on free trade, immigration, outsourcing etc.

Just a few days ago, Trump claimed that the Americans are living through the “greatest jobs theft” in the history of the world, saying US companies were moving out jobs to countries like India, China, Mexico and Singapore.

Given that Trump has several times placed India in the same category as China, an economic competitor, India-US economic ties could be an area to watch out for, for increased stress points.

Trump had also proposed that American companies that use visas like the H1B be required to hire American workers before hiring foreigners.

Therefore, his accession to the White House would certainly be frowned upon by many.

With a promise to reduce the US corporate tax from 35 to 15 per cent, we can also expect American corporates head back to the US, upsetting Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ .

His conservative approach is also obvious in his electoral slogans, ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘America First’.

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