"Going through tough times is a wonderful thing, and everybody should try it. Once."
India is jubilant on the stunning victory of Donald John Trump elected as 45th President of United States of America, though it sparked the protests across America with slogans "Not my President". Minutes after winning one of the most closely contested election in the history of America, Trump was congratulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a tweet, "the friendship articulated by Trump during his campaign, and hoped the two countries would take their bilateral relations to new heights". Indians were thrilled when during the election campaign Trump while attending Hindu Republican Collation in New Jersey said, "I have great respect for Hindus. I have so many friends that are Hindu. They are great people, amazing entrepreneurs". During the campaign Trump also said that he wants to ban foreign Muslims from entering the US, and claimed that he alone can solve Islamic radical terrorism, while calling once India's neighbour Pakistan "probably the most dangerous country in the world". This had generated a huge interests among the right wing political commentators, celebrities and social media trolls in India for Donald Trump in whom Narendra Modi, hopes to find one of its biggest allies to counter Pakistan, as he believes Pakistan "a safe haven of terrorists". What Donald Trump as 45th President of United States would mean for India, Pakistan and Kashmir ….. ?
Beyond the optics majoritarianism and racism lies the cold world of business and economy or a more complex world of international and strategical relations. The US relations with India are driven, of course, by economic motives, a tilt which is a clear outcome of growing power of China. The Obama administration has already entered into strategic partnership with India and the Republican Party platform while describing India as a "Geo political allay and strategic trading partner" said, "Republicans will continue to invest in long-term strategic partnership with India – the world's largest democracy, a nation of great diversity, and an important ……… power". Trump belongs to the more conservative strand of American thought which believes that free trade – and many of its accompaniments like immigration, out sourcing or treaties with countries – must be renegotiated on American terms. India will have definitely a serious impact, as and when the Trump decides to implement his 15 point agenda of his election manifesto particularly reduction of corporate tax rate in the US from 35% to 15%, curtail Chinese trade, cutting down immigration, boosting GDP growth to 4% by adding 25 million jobs, curbing immigration from countries that export terror, making the US energy self sufficient by unlashing American shale oil, natural gas and coal reserves, and providing affordable health care to Americans instead of Obamacare. Trump's massive corporate tax cut would tempt American corporate head back to the US, upsetting Modi's "Make in India Programme". Cutting down immigration, prioritizing jobs for Americans and restricting H1B visa programme that allows low cost skilled Indians to work in the US will hit top Indian IT companies like TCS, Infosys and Wipro who make billions there. If Trump implements his promise to junk Obamacare a health progamme for Americans, Indian pharma companies whose exports had grown from $ 31 billion to $ 66 billion during last five years of the scheme could be worst hit. Trumpt has also vowed to cut taxes for everyone in the US, stop spending billions of dollars on UN climate programme of which one of the important beneficiary is developing India. Of course India can be benefitted by Trump plan to curtail Chinese trade by making a flip in the export of computers and pharma products as presently the US imports computer hardware and telecommunication equipments worth $100 billion and pharma worth $20 billion from China. Trumps strong word on the need to curtail ISIS and curb immigration from countries that export terror would comfort India with respect to Pakistan. During the election campaign Trump said to Washington post., "I Know the outer world exists…….. but at that point do you say, hey, we have to take care of ourselves?" With his slogan of 'America first' India has much to lose than to gain.
As geo-politics and its compulsions do not change with the change of persons, the US will continue to remain a dominant player in South Asia to which is linked the Kashmir dispute. That is why US President elect Donald Trump during his campaign has said that if elected, he would like to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir because the region was a "very, very hot tinder box".
(Ab Qayoom Khan (IFS) Rtd. is Member All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat)