As Donald Trump gets ready to takeover as the 45th President of the United States, there are talks in political circles in India and America that his presidency could bode well for India. At a campaign where he courted Indian-American voters at a rally in New Jersey in mid-October, he said, “There won’t be any relationship more important to us.” During his election campaign, he was largely positive about India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump, the tycoon-turned-TV reality star told one cultural event put on by diaspora Republicans during the presidential campaign that he loved the country and its people. To appeal to the Indian and ‘Hindu’ community, Trump borrowed the famous slogan that PM Modi used in 2014, “Abki Baar Modi Sarkar”. Trump modified that to “Abki Baar Trump Sarkar”. Trump has been spending his time in Cabinet formation and selecting key members of his administration.
There are other hints that Trump is well-disposed toward India. He has done a lot of business there, and on Wednesday he selected South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to be US ambassador to the United Nations. Haley is the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants. News agency IANS spoke to Shalabh Kumar, the founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition. He described South Carolina governor’s appointment as United Nations Ambassador as the “Third Diwali” after the festival itself and Trump’s election. Echoing a broad sentiment among community leaders, he said it was a “proud moment for Indian Americans”.
Much of the diplomacy over the rivalry between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed powers, plays out in the corridors of UN headquarters in New York and Haley’s appointment is likely to be seen positively in New Delhi in that light. India, the world’s largest democracy, is also lobbying to be made a permanent member of an expanded UN Security Council, although it’s doubtful this would be a priority for Trump.
This would not only bring the Indian-American community closer to the Republican party, but further strengthen India-US relationship, said Sampat Shivangi, a Republican leader, who holds the distinction of attending the last four Republican National Convention. “This is a masterstroke. Now India has a friend at the highest world body. May be in securing India’s rightful place at the UN Security Council and other important matters. One thing to admire about Haley she has not forgotten her roots or heritage,” Shivangi told PTI. Haley is a great choice for the UN Ambassador post, said M Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley-based Indian-American entrepreneur. “She has had prior experience in South Carolina with foreign companies and governments. Nikki has been to India and has a good relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
(With inputs from Agencies)