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How do you think the U.S. presidential election will impact U.S.-India relations?
By Shivani Sanjay Ghotikar
| Category: U.S. India Relations

For two countries, one being the largest democracy in the world and the other being a global superpower, it appears natural to consider their bilateral relation as “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century” as President Obama quipped. However, Indo-US ties are stuck in a rut, with unfulfilled promises that have yet to materialize and the lack of US intervention on Pakistan’s homegrown terrorism. Forging closer ties has been a key part of the foreign policy of both countries in the recent past. This is of special importance to India, with its candidacy for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group pending. Both U.S. presidential candidates could help find a way out of this rut.


Firstly, Donald Trump’s rise has been anything but conventional; for an outsider with no political experience whatsoever to be contesting on the GOP ticket was a long shot at best, yet he swept the primaries with record margins in some states. Secondly, despite his hostile takeover of the Republican Party, he is now endorsed by party leaders. Thirdly, for him to win the election, it would also require a revision of the general election map, with traditionally blue Rust Belt states voting red. Therefore, a Trump presidency could well continue the streak of toppling the balance of power by shifting power to India from China, making it a regional superpower in Asia.


Trump, if elected, would likely stop the decades - long tradition of China and Pakistan using the United States as a cash cow. By cutting the flow of cash to China, as he has repeatedly avowed throughout the course of his campaign, trade war and declined economic growth would be effected. Cutting off US aid to Pakistan would be a massive boost to India’s war on terror. With that being said, Trump’s administration, with a republic controlled Congress, adopting the traditional republican stance on free trade would mean a lot fewer jobs for India who is a major outsourcer. However, the net effect is in India’s favor – China stands to lose big in the event of a Trump Presidency and India gains Asian dominance.


Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a known figure both globally and in India – She has been a friend to India since her time as the First Lady and also as Secretary of State. She is the candidate with stellar experience who offers the least change from the past and the present. In terms of the visa regime, HRC is the preferred candidate. With President Bill Clinton (a longtime ally of India) expected to have a prominent role in the Clinton Administration, bilateral ties look set to usher in an era of mutual growth.


India goes to the polls in 2019. The outcome of the U.S. Presidential elections could possibly influence a power shake-up in India at the national level; the similarities between the two countries are uncanny –

• the emergence of an outsider (like Donald Trump) is a likely event with the Aam Aadmi Party fast gaining popularity due to the people’s desire for someone anti-establishment and not politically correct

• an underdog could overthrow the establishment due to public mistrust over past events(Gujarat riots and Benghazi)


All things considered, Indo-US relations are of supreme importance to both nations and strategic efforts must be made to promise future growth.

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