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How do you think the U. S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION will impact U.S. – INDIA relations?
By Gargi Pathak
| Category: U.S. India Relations

In the present scenario of global economic downturn, the economic interests of each country dominate all other forms of affiliations. U.S. – India ties have been transformed in recent years. The global strategic partnership between the two countries proves the strength of the bond these two countries share. The relationship between the two countries is being increasingly consolidated. However, like any such relationship – especially between the world’s foremost political, military, economic and technological power and a large developing country advanced in certain sectors of the knowledge economy, but beset with problems of poverty as well as at unequal stages of development internally – differences are normal.


In September 2016, U.S. will elect a new leader who might either belong to the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. The current Republican race has seen the rise of outsider candidates such as businessman, Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, who have not held any elective office earlier. On the other hand, Democratic Party has Hillary Clinton (a former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state) and Bernie Sanders (a member of Congress since 1989), who have more presidential resumes.


The Democrats are traditionally against global trade and movement of goods, capital and outsourcing of labor to other countries. On this account, the Democrats might not offer the best one for India. Moreover, at present the U.S. Congress is controlled by the Republicans, who are in majority and hence, it makes sense for the Presidency also to shift to them in order to improve the effectiveness of the government. American government that is purposeful in its decision making will suit India’s interests better.


The closeness quotient between India and U.S. is determined by multiple factors. Out of these factors, three specific areas largely decide the discourse of the relationship between the two countries – trade, immigration and U.S. position on Indo-Pak as well as Sino-Indian disputes and rivalries.


“On trade, a lot depends on how Trump administration works with China. Trump says he is a dealmaker and negotiator and if he makes a grand bargain with China, then the story would be different. However, if Trump and China do not gel for various reasons then his policies will be more favorable for India. There could be hiccups for IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) and IT sourcing but a lot depends on their relationship with China. Under Hillary, it will be business as usual”, Robinder Sachdev, Founder President of The independent think-tank Imagindia Institute said.


A closer analysis makes it clear that a Trump presidency may result in a little bit of tough talk on trade and immigration but the overall strategic relationship between the two countries may offset these irritants. A Hillary presidency on the other hand, will take the existing relationship forward without too much of experimentation. This is one reason why the expert NN Jha, the retired IFS Officer believes Hillary to be a better U.S. President from Indian perspective. However, from a military and foreign policy perspective, Trump may prove to be more positively disposed towards India.


Finally, whichever party or candidate wins the Presidential elections in U.S., the impact on India may only be issue based and not broad based. India is a huge consumer base for U.S. manufacturing sector, including the Defence. Therefore, both Democratic and Republican Parties cannot afford to ignore India.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this contest entry are those of the author and do not reflect the views, positions or policies of the U.S. Government