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US presidential elections 2020: Who is a better bet for India, Trump or Biden?

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US presidential elections 2020: Who is a better bet for India, Trump or Biden?

2020-08-20 06:32:17

By Dwaipayan

The Presidential elections in the US are close, and will be held on November 3rd, 2020. The tug of war between incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate Joe Biden is all set for the big fight. It will be exciting to understand what will be the implications on India under US polls? While Trump has been virtuous to India so far and can be expected to continue to be, there is a lurking fear about his position right now because the public in the USA is by now convinced that Trump has failed to contain the Coronavirus and has downplayed initially itself resulting in a huge number of deaths that have led to the loss of jobs and a sluggish economy. The “black lives matter” issue which is denting the white segment also.

Whilst Joe Biden has been a strong candidate, served as Deputy President of the USA when Obama was leading, economically as the best US president for India.

Largely, the Republican Party has been a Pro-India Party and Democrats were not as supportive as Republicans.

If we consider the political “shift” the incumbent, President Donald Trump, is seen as a strong friend of India while Joe Biden, the likely Democratic Party nominee and former vice president, is viewed as being under the influence of forces unfavorable to India, mainly the party’s “progressive” wing. Trump’s fervent presence at two big rallies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston and Ahmedabad impressed Indian Americans, especially the older generation voters.

On the other side, Biden’s “Agenda for Muslim-American Communities” in which the candidate criticized India’s actions in Jammu & Kashmir offended many Indian Americans, including life-long Democrats. They see the criticism, which is mild compared to what Indians themselves have leveled against Modi, as “interference” in India’s internal affairs and an attack on India’s “sovereignty.” Indian Americans have habitually voted for the Democratic Party in overwhelming numbers, but sources and many community leaders say a subterranean shift towards the Republican Party is underway in the upcoming presidential election.

Statistics reveal that 52,194 Indians gained US citizenship in 2018, second only to Mexicans, and became potential voters. Indian Americans are the third-largest group in the larger Asian American population after the Chinese and Filipino.
Despite the Trump administration’s disruptive foreign and domestic policies, something good has happened over the last three and half years for India. He has backed India on most key issues, offered to sell weapons that the previous administration had denied, cut military aid to Pakistan, helped secure the release of the Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan, and has strongly supported India in its current border impasse with China.
For Indian American supporters, Trump’s denial to involve in India’s internal affairs tops the list of admirable traits that must be rewarded. His open cheer of Hindus has also helped – he was the first presidential candidate to attend a rally organized by a group called “Republican Hindu Coalition” in New Jersey in 2016. It led to the slogan “Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar” for his ad campaign.
Things looked favorable for India when Joe Biden's tenure as Deputy President of the USA during Barack Obama presidency, Obama visited India twice, including as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. He was the first US president to be invited as chief guest. Obama also became the first US president to support India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and declare India a “major defense partner” of the US to allow for the transfer of sophisticated weapons and technology.

But over the past year, Democrats have been into the news for attacking and criticizing India more than for supporting it. Many Democrats have strongly condemned Modi’s policies in Kashmir and his Hindutva philosophy. They have held Congressional hearings, which many said were propelled by special interest groups, not by a genuine need for an inquiry.

Recent Reports say that Biden will ‘stand with India’ if elected, highlighting Trump admin’s ‘harmful’ action on H1B visa. Biden said he will continue to believe this and continue to stand with India against the threats it faces from its region and along its borders.

He further added that he will work on growing two-way trade between the two nations and take on big global challenges like climate change and global health security.
If the Democratic candidate is elected, he will work to strengthen the democracies where diversity is the mutual strength he said.

Biden left no stone unturned on this day, to promise the bond that endures between our nation’s and our people,” Biden said. He said that “as President, he will continue to rely on the Indian-American diaspora that keeps our two nations together, as I have throughout my career”. “My constituents in Delaware, my staff in the Senate, the Obama administration that had more Indian-Americans than any other administration in the history of this country, and this campaign with Indian Americans at senior levels, which of course includes the top of the heap, our dear friend Kamala Harris who will be the first Indian American vice president in the history of the United States of America.

While India may seem a natural ‘strategic partner’ of the US, drawing near in recent decades by geopolitical developments, especially with China’s rise. Over time, however, both Republic and Democratic administrations have invested in the broader India-US relationship

Indian foreign policy strategists have never been more clear. Be it geopolitical or bilateral issues, India must take advantage of, in mercenary fashion, any congruence in worldviews. But where such congruence is hard to find, it must be clever and willing to protect its interests. And that is just as true whether it is a Republican or a Democrat in the Oval Office.

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