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Does Trump still view India as a ‘job-stealer’?

Does Trump still view India as a ‘job-stealer’?

by Dr Ajit Kumar Singh

As expected, Donald Trump of the Republican Party emerged triumphant defeating Hillary Clinton, the Democrat candidate. He will now take oath as the 45th President of United States of America on January 20, 2017.

In his first speech as ‘President-elect’ he has set his agenda quite unequivocally:

I’ve spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential… Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential… We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none, and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it… We have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world…
Evidently, for Americans, the economic sector is his priority. 

Donald Trump's first speech as president-elect

Donald Trump’s first speech as president-elect highlights his agenda | Picture Courtesy – One News Page

Prioritizing America

Donald Trump, on several occasions, accused India along with China and Mexico of ‘stealing’ American jobs. It is expected that he will be forced to take some drastic measures to deal with this problem.

His forthright admission that “we will always put America’s interests first”, is an area of concern for India’s job sector. Indeed, Donald Trump, on several occasions, accused India along with China and Mexico of ‘stealing’ American jobs. It is expected that he will be forced to take some drastic measures to deal with this problem. He and his supporters believe that this is hurting America’s job sector. Such a move will adversely impact Indian Prime Minister’s plan to fight against surging unemployment in India. It will be interesting to see how these two ‘close friends’ deal with that scenario.   

Apart from this one sector of the economy, things will remain more or less the same in Indo-US economic ties. No big changes are expected.

‘Securing’ Ties

The most important challenge for India is to further strengthen its security ties with the US. It must make it imperative for the Trump government to go forward with a new policy to deal with the South Asian Region.

It is pertinent to recall here that on an American radio show Trump on September 21, 2015, had called Pakistan “probably the most dangerous country in the world today”, adding, “You have to get India involved… They have their own nukes and have a very powerful army. They seem to be the real check…. I think we have to deal very closely with India to deal with it (Pakistan).”

In contrast, President Barack Obama believed to have once described Pakistan as a “disastrously dysfunctional” state. However, he was found wanting whenever it came to take decisive action against its (Pakistan) misadventures in its neighboring countries. Obama was also indecisive against the growing footprints of Pakistan’s terror machinery. Trump is expected to be firmer in his actions.

Looking Ahead

Conspicuously, Trump’s victory follows a remarkable campaign. He described it as – “not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement” that will restore the faith of millions of Americans who were dissatisfied with the state of the nation. For, India it provides another opportunity to emerge as a natural US ally in South Asia. 

Needless to say, Trump’s statements and views towards India during his campaign trail will work as the starting point. Unsurprisingly, while congratulating Trump, the Indian Prime Minister Tweeted “We appreciate the friendship you have articulated towards India during your campaign, @realDonaldTrump.”

Ajit Kumar Singh is a research fellow at the Institute for Conflict Management.

Featured Image Source – DNA India

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