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Who is better for India – Hillary or Trump?

American flag in the grass

“If I have to describe the India-US relationship in a single word, I will say we are natural allies!” – PM, Narendra Modi

8th November, 2016, is a big day for USA – it spells “election day” for a fiercely competitive race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Recent polling has shown that both the candidates’ popularity is limited by the public’s lack of trust with both of them.  It cannot clearly be predicted as to who has a higher chance of winning – Hillary has been favourite since the end of February, but Trump has steadily caught her up as his Republican rivals dropped out.

The electoral result will be certified on 5th January, 2017, and the new President and Vice President are planned to be inaugurated on 20th January, 2017. Whoever does win, India will be impacted, but how much will the impact be, is to be seen..

If Hillary Clinton wins:

Indian leaders are very familiar with Hillary Clinton and her foreign policies. She has had a long association with India both as first lady (for 8 years), US Senator (for another 8 years) and then as secretary of state (for an additional 4 years). She has great empathy for India’s interests, and has always been a friend to India. Therefore, the predictability and comfort quotient would be higher in the case of Hillary as compared to her rival Trump. She will work along the lines of the bilateral relationship competently. However, it is believed that she will continue with the Obama policies, without any drastic changes, which is not fully supportive of India in comparison to other nations.

If Donald Trump wins:

The general perception is that Donald Trump is an unknown entity whose foreign policies and capabilities are yet to be seen. While Trump’s tough stand against terrorism and Islamic State has been welcomed, there is a certain amount of worry about his statements on H1B visas and immigration. If Trump continues to take a hard line on immigration after being elected then that could have a negative impact on innumerable Indian workers. If he abolishes USA’s free trade policies, then definitely India will stand to lose some technology and outsourcing jobs. However, China, too, will lose massive business, and this can turn out to be a boon for India. Also, Trump referred to Pakistan as ‘probably the most dangerous country’, so in the battle between India and Pakistan, India may win USA’s vote under his presidency.

As far as India’s position is concerned, former Indian ambassador Meera Shankar once stated: “India is in a fortunate place. We enjoy bi-partisan support among republicans and democrats. Whoever is elected the policy would be to seek better relations with India!”

Change is certain. For now, India is waiting and watching the Presidential race. If Hillary Clinton wins, we know where to begin but if it is Trump then we will have to explore, test waters and then move ahead. In this fight of Hillary v/s Trump, India will definitely be impacted – how, we’ll know soon!

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