Donald Trump’s victory in the recently concluded US presidential elections has been faithful to the recent wave of support to the right-wingers across the globe. Brexit, election of President Duterte in Philippines, string of victories for rightists in continental Europe etc. have been pointing towards this trend. But, what makes Trump’s victory stand apart is his political background and rabblerousing, controversial and xenophobic campaign in the run up to the elections.
Trump’s presidency is likely to be protectionist and inward looking as can be gathered from his campaign rhetoric. India exports its talent to the US, especially its skilled professionals from the IT industry. Any curbs on the much used H1B Visa to send Indian talent to the US will make it difficult for the IT industry. Few of the IT majors have already started thinking about recruiting freshers from US universities as the H1B route is likely to get costly. Also, there is simmering dissent among the skilled workers in the US as evidenced from the recent suit filed by former Disney employees against Disney Inc. for bringing in talent from India to replace them. Trump’s impetus to US companies to manufacture in the US, cancelling of trade pacts like TPP etc. point towards lesser and lesser investment in India as with the rest of the world. This puts the prospect of “Make in India”, “Digital India” and other such programmes in question.
This is one field were Indo-US cooperation is likely to happen. Trump has ostensibly shed the anti-Russia dimension in the US foreign policy and is likely to go on a collision course with China as reflected in his acknowledging Taiwanese president’s congratulatory call, thus putting One-China policy in the dock as also his incendiary tweets, calling China a “currency manipulator” etc. This will eventually serve in suppressing the growing conflict between the US and Russia in Syria, Ukraine etc. which in turn has led to Russia and China holding hands (despite their mutual suspicions). Indo-Russian cooperation thus will be -to some extent- eased of the US shadow. However, Trump’s offer to mediate in the Kashmir issue and apparent bonhomie with Pakistan remain areas of concern and a wait-and-watch approach is needed for the time being
Trump’s hard-line against terrorism was prominent during his campaign. His condemnation of terrorist attacks in Berlin, wherein he had given a religious dimension to the attack by calling it an attack on “Christianity” all point towards his potential stand. Also, he has been unequivocal in condemning the IS and his apparent willingness to work with Russia to tackle this menace clearly show where his priorities lie. However, India has to wait for his term to begin to gauge his willingness to work with India and, the Pakistan question, as mentioned earlier, still remains unclear
Trump’s assertions to scrap the Paris climate change deal and promote non-renewable energy resource exploration and extraction, to kick-start the sagging US economy can lead to a number of signatories to the pact turning less serious. India being one of the major signatories to the deal, along with other developing nations, may find it difficult to get the developed world pay for implementing the plan as per the deal. This can in turn have repercussions on a global scale – India would be a significant victim - with the number of “climate-change” refugees and water wars escalating in the long run
The 45th President of the US is an enigma to the world. His ideas and his interests are unclear owing to his previously a political career. However, if his rhetoric during the campaign and his tweets are to be taken seriously, then his presidency is likely to be a mixed bag for India. India has to wait to see how his term would unravel before any conclusion can be drawn
-Akshay Kumar .P