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How important is Donald Trump for India?

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(Raushan Kumar, Research Scholar, Mahatma Gandhi Central University)

The US presidential election is going to happen on November 3rd. The people of the US would decide either Republican would continue to enjoy as a president or Democrat would replace it. US elections will play a vital role in India because of the current coronavirus pandemic and recent border tension with Pakistan and China. Under the leadership of Trump, India will remain important for the USA. However, the Republican Trump administration is very much supportive of India and their policies, but there is an ambiguity that will India continue enjoys if Joe Biden becomes president. Here, in this article, we will examine how the recent presidential election is so much important for the US and India too.

Trade and Tariff…

In the presidential election 2016, Donald Trump once said: “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country” and so after joining as US president, the Trump administration has been using tariffs on imported goods from China. The US-Sino Trade war escalated in 2018 when president trump imposed a tariff on goods worth of $200 billion. The US wants China to buy more American goods that will help American companies to compete against Chinese price advantage. This tariff impact is felt on industries in every nook and corner in the world and according to UN trade and investment body, India gained additional exports of $755 million. Though this trade war has bought ample benefit to south East Asian nation including Taiwan and Mexico and the trade diversion between the US and China were also benefited Canada and India too. So, if the president trump would again win his chair, the trade war will continue in future and India could be a major conqueror.

Terrorism….

India and the US both are committed to eliminating terrorism. Repeated attack from Pakistan side in India, PM Modi also tightened his stance and hit back strongly with the first surgical strike. PM Modi took various measures to combat terrorism either diplomatically or rudely. Last year in the event of ‘Howdy Modi’ with 50000 Indian-American’s at Houston, PM Modi gave a standing ovation to President Trump while addressing about ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism. Both India and the US also want to send a message to the world that they’re keeping its community safe and so that both nations are committed towards border safety and security. This year in February 2020, while addressing a huge crowd at “Namaste Trump” event at Motera stadium, Gujarat, the US president told that we are committed to fighting against terrorism and their ideologies. Both Modi and Trump stand in the same arena while defending terrorism. So, therefore India and US defence has received a strong co-operation from both sides which includes the US signed $3 billion defence deal with India at the event of ‘Namaste Trump’.

Geopolitics…

The relations between India-US under the leadership of Trump and Modi marked a shift in geopolitics in Asia. Before Trump administration, China enjoys the biggest trading partner with the US but due to ideological differences, the bilateral relationship between the two countries was turning sour. New Delhi needs Washington support under the president Trump both in respect to two rival nations China and Pakistan. So, many reforms and policies like abrogation of the Article 370 and implementation of Citizenship amendment act (CAA), under the PM Modi have drawn a tremendous criticism from opposition leader of India and abroad but it gained support from the US on all his major decisions. So, in the arena of geopolitics, Trump and Modi stand in the same table. With the help of Washington, New Delhi relentlessly works to minimise the Chinese influence in India’s neighbourhood. South-East Asia has become the new geopolitical ground between India and China. In the decade 2020- 2030, it would be very interesting to see the scores of Modi in geopolitics.

Clearly from this objective India needs Trump support in respect of Trade, Terrorism and Geo-politics. In exchange, the US will get a giant manufacturing market for investment and a strategic pillar for the USA to counter rising China. But right now both New Delhi and Washington have their own problems either internal or external. Future will decide, India could continue walking with president trump on Trade, Terrorism and geopolitics or a tight friendship between US and India would finish.

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