Contrary to what a lot of people are fearing, India need not feel anxious about the future of its relation with Trump's America; there are realities that won't separate these two countries in todays' times
Donald Trump's election as the 45th president of the United States will make things in American foreign policy quite exceptional from here on. A country which made an emphatic entry into a world order dominated by Europe in the early 1940s and ensured that the evil Axis Powers did not become the decider of the world's fate, continued to lead the free world since then -- during the Cold War and also after it against diverse opponents. But 75 years since joining the Second World War, the United States now might be seen covering a different journey altogether under a president who has been a complete outsider.
But the proposition of an American retreat has made various countries - particularly the friends and allies of Washington across the globe anxious. Will they no more find a reliable friend in Washington? India, too, is concerned though for different reasons. It thinks whether Trump will dissociate the immediate past when the Narendra Modi-Barack Obama bonhomie had reached new heights with the near future by targeting India's job market and take back all things that are American. A retreat, after all, could be good militarily but not economically.
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But there is little reason for Indians to feel anxious about an American retreat. And there are of course a few reasons that play in India's favour:
Economy: Away from the days when India had stifled its own economy, thanks to ideological compulsions (tough to understand today of course), it is one of the fastest growing in the country and find itself in a perfect alignment with the American style of economic functioning. Given the massive market, cheap but meritocratic labour, India finds itself a perfect partner for America which has the businesses and the money. The Indian diaspora in the US has become an integral part of the bilateral relation between the two countries. And with both being vibrant democracies, the inclination to complement each other is also very natural. With so many factors working in favour, no American or Indian leadership will ever commit a blunder of derailing the ever-strengthening relationship. We saw how much significance the US attaches to India in the episode of denying visa to Narendra Modi. The pragmatic outlook laid the foundation of a robust relation which not even Trump will look to disturb.
Terrorism: Another major reason why the US and India will not going to part ways. The devastation of 9/11, in a nutshell, replaced Pakistan with India as the most reliable strategic partner in South Asia, thanks to Islamabad's hobnobbing with the terrorists in Afghanistan who challenged the US. This remarkable turnaround in the equations that the US and Pakistan had enjoyed vis-à-vis the erstwhile Soviet Union during the Cold War era saw New Delhi replacing Islamabad as a more effective partner for Washington. It is true that the US will still need Pakistan as long as problems in Afghanistan persist but at the same time, the Haqqani factor will also see the US toughening its stand on the old ally in Asia. As long as this geostrategic reality persists, India will enjoy the blessings of the US, even under Republican presidents - something that marks a notable departure from the past.
China: It is still not clear which way President Trump will go on China. Will he continue to imitate his predecessor Barack Obama's strong stand vis-à-vis Beijing in the Eastern Asian theatre? After all, China has been one issue on which Trump's talks so far have shown a rare similarity with Obama's actions. In case Trump continues to compete with the Chinese like Obama did, even if only financially and not militarily (though withdrawing militarily from the Asia-Pacific will create more problems for Washington), it will need India as a strategic partner. In fact, at a time when the US is losing allies in Asia fast - India stands as one major country which has become closer to the Americans. No president, irrespective of his individual preferences, will be ready to give up this advantage.