Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton: Who's better for India?

Who Will Be The Next President?

That is the question that the US is asking today. And the United States Presidential Election 2016 is the event the world will be following today as well. But, what’s in it for Indians? Which presidential candidate will be good for our country? That is the question we Indians must be asking.

Here are the six presidential nominees that Americans will have to make up their minds about today –

Presidential Candidate Party
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton Democratic Party
Donald John Trump Republican Party
Gary Earl Johnson Libertarian Party
Jill Ellen Stein Green Party
Darrell Lane Castle Constitution Party
David Evan McMullin Independent

Of the six, it is quite clear, that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the forerunners. Unlike many previous elections, this one is quite close and unless the results are out, we will not know who will next occupy the White House. In the meanwhile, we can take a look at the various issues that concern India and the views of Clinton and Trump on these.

Immigration and Outsourcing

Issues of immigration and outsourced jobs have been at the centre of Trump’s campaign. His scathing attacks on the immigrant community (especially those from Mexico) have defined his presidential campaign. Trump has promised to put an end (well, almost) to outsourced jobs overseas and bring them back for Americans to claim. If Trump becomes the president, it is likely that the H-1B visa applicants from India will suffer. Clinton, on the other hand, has come out in great support of the immigrants coming in from India and other countries, particularly those wanting to study science and technology. She plans to open up an automatic green card channel for these students once they complete a Master’s programme or PhD from an American university.

India and Indian Leadership

Let us now take a look at the Indo-US relations and the role American leadership will play in the years to come. Hillary’s predictability and her experience in dealing with India are her biggest assets. As the United States Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013, Senator Clinton set the foundation of various partnerships between the US and India. Trump, on the other hand, is unknown territory. Trump’s political statements often betray what his critics refer to as “xenophobia”. At a recent fundraiser, though, Trump courted Indians by praising the Indian PM Narendra Modi and the Hindu populace of the country. The fact that Trump has made a number of huge investments (personal) in Indian cities such as Mumbai, Pune, and Gurgaon must be taken as a positive sign.

South Asian Politics

The stand that the new US president will take with regard to Pakistan is a matter of great interest to the people of India. On this front, however, Trump comes across as a clear ally. Trump’s statement that “Pakistan is semi-unstable” coupled with his support of India’s leadership is a clear indication that if he takes over the Oval office, India will find a great ally and dominate south Asian politics. Trump could hold out on aids to Pakistan, thus strengthening India’s position as well.  Clinton, on the other hand, may continue with Obama’s policy of considered ambiguity leaning towards equilibrium. A supportive US president will be a great asset to India in its bid to gain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and in forging an India centric Asia.

Stand Against Terrorism

India has taken a very strong stand against terrorist outfits and militancy in recent times. Following the attacks in Pathankot and Uri, both on the Indian military and civilians alike, it has become important for India to find support in western nations to combat the menace that terrorism presents. If Trump’s election promises are to be believed, he is likely to come out and take action against the likes of ISIS. Not only does he intend to lead a global juggernaut of nations against the Islamic State, but also to find common grounds with Russia and forge a new bond with the traditional adversary, thereby establishing harmony. Hillary’s stance is likely to be in continuation of Obama’s passive opposition while not taking up a combative role without further provocation.

India VS China

If Trump does get elected to the Oval Office, China is certain to slide down in its balance against India. For decades now, our north eastern neighbour has been running up a huge trade surplus (about USD 366 billion in 2015) riding on its booming manufacturing sector, while the US has lost over 5 million jobs to a cut down in manufacturing units in the country. Trump shall be cutting down cash flow to China while bringing back manufacturing jobs to the US. This is likely to impact a faltering Chinese economy a lot more than India. Hillary is likely to allow the stalemate between India and China to continue at the cost of stability in Asia.

Quotable Quotes

Hillary Clinton and India

  • “I am sure she will take it (India-US ties) forward as president, as President Obama has done” – John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chief
  • “In all positions, that she (Ms. Clinton) has held so far, she had Indian Americans around her. She takes the best and the brightest from everywhere. She will recognise the talent among the Indian American community” – Neera Tanden, President, Centre for American Progress
  • “India has reduced its dependence on Iranian oil. I know their refineries have stopped asking for orders to purchase Iranian oil” – Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and India

  • “By the way, India is doing great. Nobody talks about it. I have big jobs going up in India. But India is doing great” – Donald Trump
  • “IBM laid off 500 workers in Minneapolis and moved their jobs to India and other countries. A Trump administration will stop the jobs from leaving America” – Donald Trump
  • “Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House” – Donald Trump

Read More:

Five Indian Americans Elected To The US Congress
Is there a contradiction between Trump’s investment in India and future US Foreign Policy?