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The Impact of the U.S. Presidential Election on Indo-U.S. Relations
By John Conrad Coelho
| Category: U.S. India Relations

It was once said: "If the British monarch sneezed, the world caught a cold" !  This may hold as true today for the person who occupies the Oval Office. Indians may live far from the United States but some here do follow the on-going election campaign with avid interest and wonder what the result will spell for our part of the world. On his daily jaunts around the neighbourhood, this writer has often had the good fortune to interact with auto-rickshaw drivers, cigarette-stall vendors and others.  Thanks to extensive media coverage, they sometimes voice concern about who will be the next US President. One even jocularly remarked: "Will it be Clinton Memsaab or that Man with the funny hair ?".


Our common folk may not be directly affected by such momentous events in a far-off land. However, the outcome of this election will have a deep impact on our national life in such areas as; our strategic relations with our immediate neighbours, our economic progress under a US Presidency favourably disposed towards India and, just as importantly, the people-to-people contacts vis-a-vis business, technological, educational and cultural interchanges between our two nations. 


Stronger Indo-US ties in the post-electoral years are vital to India's strategic and defence interests. Given the increasing tensions on our borders, it is now imperative to establish closer US-India bonds to eradicate our cross-border infiltration issues as well as the larger threat of international terrorism.  We need to strengthen our defence machinery through more advanced American Military technology and even, perhaps, work out newer strategic alliances with the US to protect our national integrity and sovereignty.


In matters economic, our two nations should widen existing avenues of trade and commerce to their mutual benefit.  We need also to entice more American entrepreneurs to invest in our Government's policy of  " Make-in-India " .  One wonders however, how such trading alliances would fare under the new White House occupant.


Above all, it is genuine people-to-people contact that will ensure the success of Indo-US relations post-electorally.  In the 1960s, Peace Corps volunteers' visits helped promote wonderful camaraderie between the youth of our two nations.  That was in the brief and shining moment of Kennedy's inspiring Presidency. What we need now is "Another Camelot" to promote true harmony and understanding between peoples through more inter-cultural and educational exchanges.  Which candidate can provide that only time will tell. 


Ultimately, how Indo-US relations shape up under the new President depends on whether s/he lives up to the universal faith in America as leader of the world's greatest democracy. "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" still inspires hope and courage in millions around the free world and those less fortunate.  It does not instil fear, never incites to violence, nor propagates an agenda of hatred or social injustice.  In the continuing struggle to contain and eliminate all terrorism, in the Herculean task of building an enduring peace globally and in the ceaseless effort to establish a truly egalitarian world order, America will always be in the vanguard.  If an intense bond of Indo-US 'bludbruderschaft' is forged to work for humanity's common good it will prove a monumental game-changer in twenty-first century politics.


Upholding the Homeric wanderer's motto: "To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield", the world's largest and the world's strongest democracies can, in the post- 2017 era, together fight and win the eternal battle for universal JUSTICE and the noble war for PEACE.  Such intimate US-India links can achieve not just the American or Indian Dream but humankind's dream of a veritable UTOPIA. Of that, we are confident.

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