For India, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s victory could mean good news on various counts.
The US President-elect has spoken positively about India. He is seen to have a strong view on terror, a problem India has been facing for decades, and has branded Pakistan as the most dangerous country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr Trump in a series of tweets, saying India appreciates the friendship he articulated during his campaign.
India now hopes that Mr Trump will focus on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism against India and Afghanistan.
“We look forward to working with you closely to take India- US bilateral ties to a new height,” said Mr Modi, who also called up the US President-elect to convey his best wishes.
The victory will also lead to strong ties between the US and India’s ally Russia. The West’s approach was seen to have pushed Russia towards China.
A Hillary Clinton victory would have seen continued deterioration in ties between the US and Russia. Russia has been increasingly insecure about the growing friendship between India and the US under the Obama Administration.
Apprehensions regarding a possible “withdrawal” of US forces from Asia, leaving the field open to China and any protectionist economic measure that could be taken by the Trump administration are also being voiced in certain quarters.
Experts point out that Mr Trump will focus more on the domestic situation and may move away from the Obama policy of rebalancing naval assets in the Asia-Pacific to contain Chinese dominance.
Former Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar however sounded a word of caution. “Trump will focus on fighting ISIS. It remains to be seen whether he will be tougher on Pakistan.”
“The US is in a dilemma. It wants to maintain a presence in Pakistan since it does not want any threat to the nuclear arsenal there from Islamic groups and it also does not want to completely push Pakistan into the arms of China,” she said.
On economic issues, Ms. Shankar said, “Trump had said he would impose higher taxation on enterprises that transfer jobs overseas and we have to see how that affects India. The non-university white working class feels threatened since they have lost manufacturing jobs. This was traditionally the vote-bank of the Democrats. This switched completely to the Republicans.”
Former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal said, “Trump’s views are congenial for India, so far as his interests in improving ties with Russia, pressuring China and dealing forcefully with terrorism are concerned. The focus could be on bringing back manufacturing jobs which he says have been stolen by China and Mexico. The white working class is feeling threatened by the evolution of the US internally and externally.”
He added, “It is true that sections of the Indian diaspora have openly associated themselves with the Republican campaign. It allows us (Indians) to play both ends. But I don’t think there is any emotional connect (of Trump) with American Hindus. Trump is a businessman.”
Former foreign secretary and Ambassador to US Lalit Mansingh said that the excellent ties between Trump and Russian President Putin would be positive for India.