Within recent years, the evident friendship between Donald Trump and Narendra Modi has been no secret to the public or the media.
However, is it possible that this friendship will remain beneficial for both the countries even in the future? Or is there a possibility that it can shiver in times of need?
The answer to this question can only be given post-election. But since 12 million Indian Americans will be voting this year; the relationship between the two countries is a very important matter at hand.
Because their vote will decide the future of two countries at once who have achieved several milestones this year together.
THE TRADING SECTOR BETWEEN INDIA AND THE US
Donald Trump’s Government
One of the most important milestones that America achieved with India by its side was within the trading economical sector.
By surpassing China in becoming India’s top trading partner; the US has taken that place with crowning performances which resulted in gaining America a historic economy it has ever built.
Under Trump administration, India’s export stood at 52.4 billion USD. Whereas the imports stood at 35.5 billion USD. Making it a total of 88.5 billion USD worth profit that two trading partners have ever scored together.
Never had India’s bilateral trading bloomed as much as it did under the republican government. This makes this election very important for not only India but other countries too that trade with the US. Because there is a chance to see a shift within these trading patterns with a new government and leader.
Joe Biden’s stand
Joe Biden, the presidential candidate that is standing against Trump. On several occasions, he has given mixed signals regarding who does he wishes to trade with in the future.
Although Biden had publicly supported Indo-US bilateral trades while he was the vice-president during the term of 2013. But times have drastically changed and it seems so has Biden’s vision. He has hinted at wanting to trade with China during the campaign.
India’s Importance in the trading sector
However, India won’t lose its importance within the foreign market; because of the achievement it was able to collect under the Trump administration
This will directly pressure any future president to deliver and meet the same economic achievement. As America previously did under the republican government through India.
Also, America has to keep in mind that in recent years, India is one of the very few countries having a strong voice in the south Asia market apart from China. Therefore, it would be a great loss for even America to lose a strong foothold it has in these Asian markets if it decides to lower its trade with India.
However, Trump wishes to continue to grow his economy as it is with India. Also, he is hoping to make many more trading agreements within India.
So, there is a probability that India might not lose it’s status of importance directly.
DEFENCE SUPPORT FROM TRUMP
The ‘Intense’ standoff, India is facing against China at the border of Ladakh. This election is important as the vision of these candidates differs widely.
Read our blog " India-china border tensions "
Also, since India had entered a bilateral trade with the US; Trump has declared that his administration will help India at all costs.
Since the US had already offered India with long-term weapons. It changed laws that restricted the sale of military-grade drones and drone surveillance.
This move by the US displayed to the world that the world power looks after its allies. Further it strengthens the US-India bilateral trading units.
Joe Biden’s views
If Biden wins the election, then there is a slight possibility that the heavy military weapon trade between the two countries might lower down a little. And this can be a little alarming for India- China situation at the border of Ladakh.
However, the candidate has certainly promised that he would be a little strict over China to monitor its activities. And ensure that no radical harm is being done by the action of one country to another.
Unlike Trump who did not sanction China for human rights violations. As it built concentration camps for Uighur Muslims in its country.
Read our post on Can India boycott Chinese goods?
Trump’s H1B visas alteration policy
Even after all the benefits, Trump’s administration provided India with, some instances have negatively affected India directly as well.
And one of those significant instances that affected the Indian community within the US was the policies regarding H1B visas.
The official US database says almost 60% of Indian immigrants were being hired for jobs rather than Americans within America. The Trump administration labeled these Indian immigrants as ‘job thieves and criminals’.
Indian immigrant’s numbers were near 3.3 billion in the US and consisted of high numbers of Indian students. This step was concerning for the Indian government as Indian immigrants were left with doubts and confusion on foreign soil.
However, alongside the Indians, the US CEOs had voiced their disdain regarding the strict regulations that were imposed on H1B visa holders. But these concerns were only taken into consideration recently.
Biden’s words for Indian– Americans
However, Biden has given his promise that his administration would reinforce the previous system of H1B visa holders. Further, impose new methods to ensure equal employment opportunities for both Americans and Indians. This is a strong statement that Indian Americans should not ignore; as this will directly affect their stay and employability rate within the US.
Declined India – Iran oil Market
Further, another backlash that India had to bear because of US diplomacy was its loss of Iran as a strong trading partner.
In 2019, Trump had removed the waiver from India and other countries that gave them the opportunity of purchasing oil from Iran.
And since Trump’s administration was not humble towards India’s request to buy oil from the Iranian markets. The ties between Delhi and Tehran had to suffer and Tehran became a trading partner with Pakistan instead.
Biden’s views to support Iran
But what the US did not consider was how important Iran was to India; as it consisted of the pathway (Chabahar Port) that connects India to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
India had invested a lot in the Chabahar project in its initial stages. But due to the restrictions by the US and the current pandemic, it is not able to work or visit the seaport project; which it initially was a part of.
However, Biden had written to the US secretary that the US government must support the Iranians. Despite the profound differences among the two nations. If this route were to be adopted. Then Biden’s administration would prove more beneficial to India. As India will be able to mend its ties with Iran and trade oil as it always did.
India’s Internal affair
Regardless of all the discussion, one key feature that distinguishes Joe Biden’s campaign from any other presidential candidate till date is his claims about internal matters of NRC, CAA and Kashmir’s ruffle that have been occurring in India.
Now most of the time, a presidential candidate’s comment over the policy of a country would not have mattered but this year when India and the US were at the peak of their relationship,
These claims might harm this very relationship, especially because they are a part of a ‘campaign’.
Biden has been very public about how he is disappointed by the CAA that India implemented in Assam.
Even if there were national protests by Indian citizens against its government, is it safe to let a world power intrude in the country’s internal affairs and risk the national security of the nation?
This question is of main concern because Biden is passionate in providing justice to Muslim minorities around the globe (this includes the treatment being meted out to Ulghar Muslims in China and the infiltration within the Muslim community at the border of Kashmir in India).
Even if the presidential candidate’s intentions are good, the matter of national security is at a risk which is the key highlight of this election.
To conclude, there are many advantages that India has had under Trump’s administration that might slightly change under Biden’s term (but India might get some room to breathe in other sectors if not trade under Biden’s presidency).
However, it has been made very clear by both the Presidential candidates that India will be a centre of their attention when it comes to diplomatic ties in every sector as India has signed several agreements with the world power and has managed to have achieved great success with the US.
Now, will India greatly benefit or suffer substantial losses by being the centre of attention of the US is the importance of this election.