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What Trump presidency would mean for India, the world: Shashi Tharoor explains

Former minister and head of parliamentary panel on external affairs, Shashi Tharoor, explains what a Trump presidency means for India and the world in conversation with Jayanth Jacob

us presidential election Updated: Nov 09, 2016 20:16 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Supporters listen to Republican Donald Trump at an event by the Republican Hindu Coalition in New Jersey on October 15, 2016. Trump directly appealed to Indian Americans, saying he loved Hindus.
Supporters listen to Republican Donald Trump at an event by the Republican Hindu Coalition in New Jersey on October 15, 2016. Trump directly appealed to Indian Americans, saying he loved Hindus.(AFP)

Former minister and head of parliamentary panel on external affairs, Shashi Tharoor, explains what a Trump presidency means for India and the world. Republican Donald Trump made international news on Wednesday after he won the US presidential elections, beating his Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton, in a closely fought race.

What does a Trump presidency mean for India?  

I’ve always argued that the fundamentals of the US-India relationship are sound and that we have good relations with both Republican and Democratic administrations for the last 16 years. So I see no reason for any major change.

Read | Caution, optimism: What a Trump administration could mean for India

If Trump decides to walk the talk on campaign issues such as H-1B visas?

If Trump seeks to fulfil all his campaign commitments, there will be a setback or two. Indians are overwhelmingly the principal users of H-1B visas; the restrictions promised by Trump will affect Indian IT companies and software techies. Indian students may also suffer new restrictions.

Read | India, US would be ‘best friends’ if I am elected president: Trump

Many analysts saying Trump presidency is good for India’s anti-terror efforts with Pakistan. Your take?  

I am alarmed by the complacency with which many Indian analysts on TV think that Trump will be good for our anti-terror efforts with Pakistan. Though Trump sees “radical Islamic terrorism” as the biggest threat to the US and the world, the Pakistani generals have proved adept at convincing Republicans that they are the best bulwark against Islamist terror. That’s how GHQ Rawalpindi has extracted $11 billion in military aid from the US so far. I fear we may see a repetition of the same, using Trump’s own logic in Pakistan’s favour.

We should reach out as early as possible to Trump and the motley crew of advisers around him who might constitute his foreign policy team – not just the Cabinet but the whole series of likely political appointees in the bureaucracy. I assume that we have begun to do so.

In your opinion, what is in store for US-Russia ties under Trump presidency?

A lot will depend on the team Trump assembles and how serious he seems to be about carrying out his election promises. Often campaign rhetoric does not translate into concrete policy choices. But in any case Putin would expect better relations with him than he would have had with a Hillary administration.

As for Prime Minister Modi?

As for Mr Modi, I think he is canny enough to keep multiple options open in India’s interest. We have interesting times ahead!

Also read | Donald Trump: If he’s bad for the US, he’s bad for us