What Does Trump Presidency Mean for India?

Image 1Now that Donald Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton and is set to become the 45th President of the United States (POTUS), the question that most Indians are asking is: How will it impact India? It isn’t hard to find people expressing angst over the outcome of elections on social media. What should we call this, illusory fear or real threat? Does the world has really come to an end with the coming of Trump Presidency, or is this only a media created hype puffed up by debates of so-called political pundits? Let’s find out.

Pollsters and Panellists Proven Wrong, Yet Again

Here it is worth recalling that in the very early stage of the Republican primaries, doomsayers, pollsters and journalists across the world were emphatic that Trump would never win the GOP nomination. As soon as they learned how wrong they were, these biased Hillary Clinton supporters started asserting that Trump has no chance of winning the presidential election. Now that the billionaire businessman has emerged victorious, many of them are crying themselves hoarse that the Trump presidency could be disastrous for the world, including India.

To support their argument, they claim that the stricter immigration rules that Trump plans to put in place would go against the interests of India. According to them, successful Indian IT companies such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro and others would be adversely affected by such policies. The media’s diatribe against the Republican real estate mogul has been so prejudiced that the Economist went to the extent of listing the Trump presidency as “one of the top 10 risks”.

Trump spoke against H-1B visas given to skilled immigrants, used extensively by Indian software professionals. He has also spoken against loss of jobs caused by companies setting up their manufacturing hubs outside the US – mainly China and India. Of course, these are matters of some worry for India. But should these arguments be accepted as they are served to our ears by the so-called analysts who have already been proved wrong by American voters, or should these be viewed pragmatically and in the backdrop of historical India-US bilateral relations?

Will the President-elect Turn All Promises True?

It is sure that Trump’s utterances have to be seen as mere pre-election rhetoric by a Republican front-runner desperate to win the upcoming election, after all polls do demand some statements that voters wish to listen, with which they can relate to, and finally make their minds to vote in favour of a particular candidate. An aspiring candidate and an elected president are entirely two different entities; Trump’s post-victory address has proved this, accepting Hillary’s contribution to the country with grace was a mature step.

In 2008, during his electioneering, Barack Obama said he would take steps to curtail outsourcing of jobs to other countries by changing the federal rules. Though President Obama tried to restructure the tax system a year later, he could not change much because of an indifferent response from the US Congress. Why then prejudge the outcomes of Trump presidency and create an atmosphere where stock markets would crash out of imaginary fear? Indian stock markets, which experts said wouldn’t be able to recuperate in case of Trump presidency, showed momentum after initial plunge the same day, an evidence of how markets absorb shocks.

As such, even if there is some cause of worry for India under Trump’s presidency, there are many areas where India could reap immense benefits after the new POTUS takes charge. Under Trump, the US foreign policy may see some serious changes and upset the power equations in Asia to favour India. For instance, Pakistan is unlikely to be seen as a friend of the Americans anymore. In fact, Trump has described Pakistan as “probably the most dangerous (country)”. He had even insisted that the South Asian nation should apologize for offering “safe sanctuary” to Osama bin Laden.

Image 3Bearing on Asian Geopolitics

The US has been helping Pakistan with massive amounts of aid every year for fighting radical Islam, and the experts who wanted Hillary’s election for a stable world (which Democrats haven’t been able to deliver in the past 8 crucial years, rather have created a ruckus and atmosphere of volatility) never considered this fact. Pakistan has been diverting part of these funds to create terrorists aimed at disrupting peace in India. So, if the funds from the US dry up, as promised by Trump, Pakistan could be more amenable to peace overtures from India. And there is no better news for India than the possibility of an end to cross-border terrorism.

When Trump described Pakistan as a problem, he also mentioned that “India is part of the solution”. It necessarily means that Trump is more likely, than any previous US presidents, to influence Pak’s foreign policy. He hinted as much when he was talking to Fox News about Dr Shakil Afridi, who is jailed in Pakistan for allegedly helping the CIA locate Osama bin Laden in 2011. Stating that he would get Dr Afridi out in two minutes, Trump said, “I would tell them, ‘let him out’ and I am sure they’d let him out because we give a lot of aid to Pakistan.” Is there any harm if the world’s most powerful country will now be led by such decisive leader who has a hard-hitting stance on global terrorism?

Tumbled Chinese Influence in The Making?

Moreover, the Trump victory cannot be music to the ears of China, which has been flexing its muscles in its efforts to be seen as a superpower. The US currently has a huge negative trade deficit with China (US$366 billion in 2015), and so is the case with India. Trump can bring down China’s trade surplus only by bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US from China. How does he do that? By introducing tax systems, that would adversely impact imports.

It would be easier to tax physical products coming from Shanghai than software transferred from Bengaluru. Any American restriction on China’s imports could be catastrophic to that country’s credit-fuelled economic boom. It could lead to recession and political unrest within the country and, possibly, you never know, even a violent revolution. Even a deep recession could potentially wipe away years of its booming growth. Not to forget, once China’s manufacturing hub status gets disrupted, India will gain not just by way of lessening imports from this country, but also by rising as the new production centre for the global economy.

The other side of the coin is that a troubled China would be reluctant to help Pakistan, which in turn would stop meddling in Indian affairs. Besides, China would also be forced to turn its attention to more serious internal issues than casting its eye on Arunachal Pradesh, which it had been claiming as its own. The Communist country has been a threat to India on South China Sea where ONGC has been trying to drill for oil in cooperation with Vietnam. As such, Trump presidency may bode well for India.

Let’s Get Real, and Not Media-Influenced

All in all, the falsely created atmosphere against President-elect of the United States will fade away sooner than later; let’s not forget the Brexit hype by world press. What will remain is the new global setting where new players will take a shift toward pragmatic action than repeat same timeworn ways of administration. India is a rising star and the world has acknowledged this, Donald Trump and his cabinet will be no unacquainted of this fact. The Indian Prime Minister, who has demonstrated his capability to take tough decisions will strike a chord with the new President-elect of the US, let’s wait and watch how the world order changes.

177 thoughts on “What Does Trump Presidency Mean for India?

  1. Sridhar Ragothaman

    India can mainly bank on the theory ‘Enemy’s enemy is your friend’. I expect Trump to go harsh on Pakistan & China on terrorism & trade. India being natural enemy for both these countries tend to become natural friend of America. India’s long-standing cordiality with America (at least since the days of Bill Clinton) might play advantage to get the relationship closer.

  2. Mohammad Ehteshamul Haque

    Too early to celebrate, let him put mad mind of campaigns behind, if he doesn’t then worst is ahead.

  3. Siddhartha Verma

    He is very bold and now Nationalist ……..and will do everything showcased durig the campaigns….. as MODI does !

  4. satya penmatsa

    Everyone and every country don’t work for charity or for India goodness,Simple, Services /goods sold by india should meet US needs miserable, then only he can do good to US by doing good to India. if Trump has alternatives, he will choose cheap destinations

  5. Yuvaraj Ponmudi

    There going to be a huge change in the US-INDIA relationship…Hopefully expecting the collaboration with Education, Pharmacy, Infrastructure, IT & Military.. For sure, India going to be a strongest economic rank in the Global list…

  6. David T. Williams

    The Trump Administration might look to counterbalance China in the region with closer ties with India. We shall see.

  7. Dhanesh Tk

    Whomsoever win or loss, nothing gonna change. There will be change the day we learn to think and act for ourself rather waiting for a helping hand. Lessons are many to learn from like China, Taiwan,Israel…but still we wait for that magical angel to turn everything for us.

  8. Mangesh Baxi

    Trump is essentially a businessman who has nurtured & run billions of dollars worth business. He won’t unnecessarily mess with American Fortune 500 companies, who outsource their IT requirements from India.


    virtually i dont think any change with the change of presidency in usa or elsewhere-the president is guided by same mind set of bureaucracy as it was under Obama

  10. S.S. Marthandam

    Between countries it is invariably a question of – how much do they need each other. Individuals matter little. Trump is surely friendly towards India.

  11. Shekhar Chandra V.V.

    I feel we also need to consider China influence over US. With a trade deficit already mentioned in the article China may or would have political leverage over U.S. fiscal policy.

    At the same time I like to understand this and I quote from the article “….Trump can bring down China’s trade surplus only by bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US from China. How does he do that? By introducing tax systems, that would adversely impact imports”. Currently a lot of US based companies send raw materials to China for low-cost assembly. How can the US compete with such low cost assembling of products – it just cant ! Assuming even if manufacturing happens in the US the ‘made in US ” product would cost more – I wonder how many US people would be ready to purchase the product at that cost!
    India and China are two countries where Trump has to play his “trump card” to balance the US accounts or leverage to get the best of both ! Wait and watch is the only strategy for the world Sir!

  12. Dr. Jayakar Dalavai

    I may sound less axiomatic; yet I believe the question should be ‘What should India mean for Trump’. India must not fall into trap of his grandiloquent eccentricities to snub other countries to set up a new world order in which India cannot be one of the leaders. He is partnering with the pro BREXIT leaders right wing French leaders who are more of anti-global establishments who seek trade but do not wish reciprocate in other possible areas like H1-B Visas. Modi must not fall in to the sub-servient trap and return India back to 1800s. India being in BRICS consortium which is dominated by China holding finances, Russia controlling India through supply of defence equipment, Brazil and South Africa being the weaker partners, is a mockery of justice and any attempt to yield to Trumps pressures to submit to his dictates will be a mockery of Sovereign Democratic India.

  13. laxmikant ganachari

    Donald Trump Jr. Is a nationalist it’s a great but how it’s worth for Indian regards his policy? Wait n watch

  14. Jennifer L Miller (EDWOSB)

    He will be a great friend to India. He already has businesses in India. He is talking about curtailing H1B’s to some countries that are not safe for USA. There is demand for Indians in IT and, they are now not even willing to stay. They are going back since, India is prosperous anyways. It adds to their experience. Its a win win for USA with Indians. Indians contribute heavily to the US economy. We benefit from their training of US Veterans. Trump will also start some hi tech manufacturing and, bring jobs to the Deep South and, Midwest for all Americans. Michigan voted for Trump. Trump is also building a positive friendship with our best friends Russians. It was painful to watch Russia being alienated by Hillary and, her Pakistani snake Huma Abedein. Our hearts went out to our brothers and, sisters in Russia.

  15. Himanshu garg

    Agreed that it was the press and journalists who made a villian out of President elect of United States. Real test begins when he occupies office and implements his foreign policy.

  16. Lakshmi NarasimhaRao Sista

    A well written article. Just because of election rhetoric, President Elect Trump can’t be wished away as he has been elected by a democratic process and should be given due respect as such. India has its own growth momentum and prospects. USA being a commercial nation and President Elect Trump being a businessman himself can’t ignore a huge market like India.

    As regards bringing back manufacturing and creating jobs, what is wrong with it. Are we not advocating ‘Make in India’ aggressively. So President Elect Trump said ‘Make in America’.

    In general, Republican Presidents have been responsive to Indian interests. We should not forget that it is President Bush who has relaxed the Nuclear controls and facilitated supply of nuclear fuel to our nuclear reactors. True President Obama and PM Modi had a very cordial & special relationship and that does not mean President Elect Trump will fight with us or ignore us.

  17. Nadeem Naqvi

    People have seen enough of bad domestic n international politics. Now India & US wants a bigger,brighter and sustainable change. Hopefully these two powerful leaders would bring about happiness to billions of people. I am optimistic.However both leaders need to recalibrate their hardlines.

  18. Ravi Shankar Rajan

    Great thoughts Dr Sunil Gupta.Let us not forget that Trump is also a successful businessman with substantial business interests in India.He is very much aware about the outsourcing model and the low cost talent pool that immigrants bring to America.So I think his primary target will be to crack down on illegal immigrants who are creating a drain to the US economy and also play a good part in increasing the crime rate.He may also make the visa rules tougher and encourage only immigration of highly skilled labor. Indians have nothing to worry about on both these counts as Indian IT industry is built on highly skilled resources who are required badly by US MNCs. So business will still go on as usual Trump or Hillary.

  19. Shirshendu Bhattacharya

    In a world where the geo political situation is changing every minute, there is no ‘ one word’ answer. There are scenarios when the situation could be good,bad or ugly. Ugly: anti globalisation and fierce protectionism ,bad:Scrapping H1B , IT taking a hit, good: check on Pakistan and China.

  20. Moksh Mridul

    As an Indian, I am pretty saddened to note that Americans have chosen a divisive, sexist and aggressive President who will assure that nationalism is high in US rather than cooperation with other countries.

  21. neelam sinha

    I agree with Dr Gupta and Sri Lakshmi Narayanrao. Elect President will give highest priority to economic development; for this he may go to any extent. But it will be interesting to watch them manage without illegal emigrants; glorified slaves of America, without whom it is difficult for them to manage anything?

  22. Bruce Hobbs

    H-1B visas were intended to allow American companies to bring foreign workers in to fill jobs that were hard to fill. It has become a program where Indian companies bring in workers to the U.S. to displace American workers. Many of these Indian workers are underpaid and mistreated. I expect these abuses will be stopped by Donald Trump

  23. Shakti Saran

    President-Elect Donald Trump video. I do not know who is how much crude, how much vulgar and how much evil. USA. India. Working Together, Best Wishes!

  24. Arjun Janakiram

    Like most of our high quality exports, our best minds are being shipped abroad. It’s time for a change. Time for the “Indian Dream”

  25. John Maynen

    Trump’s initial plan for H1B’s supposedly is to lift the cap on H1Bs but charge the companies a fee of $25K to $30K per year for H1Bs. The argument being that the H1B program was intended to bring in the best and brightest and the $65K median salary for H1Bs indicates that this is not what is happening. If you have to pay $95K+, companies might take a much closer look at the talent already onshore

  26. Gopal Shaha

    Islamic terrorism is a big threat to all non-islamic countries and Trump has identified this fact without hesitation. This is the best part of this politician.

  27. Vishwajeet Singh

    Participant is quite different than Elected President. We have seen in US, India and almost all democratic countries in this world. We can wait and watch for furthet action

  28. Aamir Anwar

    Well I think Trump economic policies will effect India as Trump don’t want to shift US industries outside US, aim is to create more jobs for Americans

  29. Linson Thomachan

    For those who call him populist leader should answer why he did not appease black Americans and immigrant voters? He talks sense and has better economic policies than Hillary.

  30. Vijayaganesan D

    Nice article, yes agreed this media hype infiltrated lot of minds here and nobody is even listening to the trump victory just describing him as a devil. I fully agree that there will be a check for china so that they will be busy sorting that and moneyflow to pakistan will be stopped now the world order will change US ISRAEL will revolve around INDIA as already CHINA is the supporter of PAKISTAN, this will provide stability to INDIA and we can develop our manufacturing base with more than 12% growth rate as per forecasts

  31. Shekhar Chandra V.V.

    Dr Sunil was just following reactions of Trump’s statements further to my post earlier – recently read one such article and thought of sharing it – Trump may have to come out of his corporate approach and start being diplomatic (or at least learn to). One such article was on China and close to reference of what is being discussed

    China has threatened U.S. Imports Will Fall If Trump Imposes Tariffs. Further quoting the same “a state-run Chinese newspaper, threatened that China would adopt a tit-for-tat approach if Trump imposes a 45 percent tariff on imports from the country like he promised. …….trade atmosphere between China and the U.S. would become more tense….the Chinese government may instead of placing orders from the American firm Boeing (BA) will support France’s Airbus. . China will also limit the number of its students studying in the U.S.. China accounts for 31% of foreign students studying in the U.S., making it by far the biggest source. (See also, How Will Trump’s Policies on China Impact U.S. Business?).

    So India can start leveraging the trump for issues more on trade, a place on the security council where China has a veto power and what I understand to the best of my knowledge is China supporting Pakistan …

  32. Robin Malik

    Russia and America were always been good friend with India. If they come along India will be the most benefited with their good relationship.

  33. Parag Bhalla

    Such was the role of pollesters and journalists in these elections that all bets were placed on Clinton. Now the media must introspect and stop predicting political outcomes.

  34. Victoria Leader

    This is one man’s thoughts. What President Trump will do has yet to be unveiled. So the arguments here are mute. Nothing is seet in stone, my God the man isn’t even in office yet!

  35. Greg Paschall

    India is a fantastic growth market for America. Trump needs to visit India and stir that future trading partnership. In the past, the theme of America once was, and should be again: “The Business of America is Business”

    No country can solve any problem without a strong economy

  36. Arvind Sinha

    I will wait till he announces his cabinet. A man is known by the company he keeps. And then will have to understand his policies. I am ready to believe that what he said during election campaign was pure rhetoric. The real man has to emerge now.

  37. Amit Pure

    We await building of wall by US to stop illegal migrants from Mexico. And what about immigrants, will they deport or jail all of them as said by Trump in his latest speech?

  38. Berry van den Berg

    Interesting article, let’s stick to knowledge and facts for the upcoming month. Wish everybody a lot of wisdom

  39. Anantha Susairaj

    Regardless of how the relationship is the world pays the price for protectionist economy. Mr. Modi started it with Made in India and UK followed it and USA had the angst over globalization which Mr. Hope and Change do anything about it. It is expected from Trump to make some changes as an outsider. People can’t be selfish and think about their own choices since there is an international impact

  40. R gopalan

    Trumps reach out to Putin may be expected to deescalate the tension in Syria and focus joint efforts ti fight ISIS.

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  44. Jai krishnan

    Everyone hav to understand that USA is not controlled by its President. Its by their Aristocrats & Bureaucrats.
    USA President just a face of America and a rubber stamp

  45. Bhardwaj Punit

    US is a long-time partner of India and now we have moved from Russia-only to all-inclusive relations in international affairs. Hence Trump is not a threat but an opportunity for India.

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