The election of US President Donald Trump is good news for India and we can expect our bilateral ties to get even better. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi had formed an excellent rapport with outgoing President Barack Obama, things can get even better under a Trump regime.
For one, both of them share the same ideology. Both are seeking a Centre-Right space in a party that has some sections that lean far right. We are seeing a global Right resurgence that included surprise victories of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and David Cameron in England some years back.
Sonia Gandhi of India’s Congress, James Corbyn of England’s Labour and Hillary Clinton of the Democrats all lean Left and they are natural allies. That way Hillary-Modi would have been quite an uneasy alliance, but our Prime Minister doesn’t have to worry about that any longer.
Modi and Trump also share many traits in common. They are both self-made men who came succeeded against all odds and nobody gave them a chance to be where they are right now. They are both equally hated by the ecosystem of the MILL—Media Intellectuals Liberals Leftists.
So in one way you could call them natural allies and you are sure that they will get along at a personal level.
While Trump made a few noises about outsourcing early on in his campaign he later on made all efforts to woo the Indian and Hindu community. The #AbkiBaarTrumpSarkaar which he mouthed was one such example.
Trade is one of the biggies of the world today and here too both share commonalities. Both are strongly pro-industry and believe strongly in capitalism unlike so many of the Communist thinking leaders as mentioned above.
While Hillary was for status quo, Trump is planning a radical shift in his economic policies. He is planning to get rid of deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is looking to dealing with countries on an individual basis.
That way when both Modi and Trump sit to discuss the Indo-US economic ties, they will do so with a clean slate. Trump is an excellent negotiator and Modi has proved himself to be a shrewd operator with business acumen on the world stage.
Trump is also looking to cut down on Chinese dominance on Sino-US trade and he might look to India to fill in the vacuums that may arise from this. If Modi wants to do a strategic trade partnership with America to counter China, then you can be sure that Trump will give a sympathetic ear.
That’s the same with the foreign policy scene too. Trump has indicated that he is fed up with Pakistan, wants to end the nuclear deal with Iraq and wants to go after the Islamic State in a big way. If that is the case, then he will find that it beneficial to further ties with India.
In fact Obama had worsened his ties with Israel and has mentioned on many occasions how he couldn’t stand Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. But now India, America and Israel can form a strategic troika to counter the mess that has been created in the Middle East. The opportunities are limitless.
Trump seems to have a zero tolerance policies against terrorists and may want to take India’s help on the issue. Trump also, based on his statements, seems to have less patience with countries like Pakistan and it remains to be seen whether the rhetoric can be transferred to action against Pakistan.
It is quite possible that both Pakistan and China may find a reduced cash flow from America and India could be an unexpected beneficiary.
Now that the nuclear deal with America has been kick-started we can build many more nuclear plants with America’s help. We are upping our defence ties with America too and could be a major defence partner, something that suits both countries.
Incidentally a Trump Tower is already coming up in Mumbai and you must feel that is an omen of things to come!
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here