US Presidential Elections: Biden or Trump? Whoever wins, will not impact Indo-US ties, say experts

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November 5, 2020 11:57 AM

It may take a few more days or weeks before the final verdict are announced for the US Presidential Elections 2020. Team Trump is bracing up to initiate a process of litigation if the battleground state of Pennsylvania does not throw up a Republican-majority mandate.

This election is turning far more complicated and excruciating than the one in 2000, when Al Gore conceded defeat to Texas Governor George W Bush. (Photo source: Reuters)

It may take a few more days or weeks before the final verdict are announced for the US Presidential Elections 2020. Team Trump is bracing up to initiate a process of litigation if the battleground state of Pennsylvania does not throw up a Republican-majority mandate.

“Given the unpredictability of the US election, it is better to restrain the temptation of announcing the victor at the moment. Nonetheless, President Donald Trump has performed way above the predictions of pollsters in the US. The global pandemic of COVID-19 crisis and unemployment have not yet pushed his supporters to the other camp,” opine foreign affairs experts.

This election is turning far more complicated and excruciating than the one in 2000, when Al Gore conceded defeat to Texas Governor George W Bush.

“The Republican Party has decided to challenge the rule of receiving and counting of votes after the due date. In a pre-mature move, President Donald Trump has announced his victory even before the actual counting of votes was over. This is interpreted as laying the ground for a lengthy legal battle,” says Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU.

How does it concern India?

“From India’s standpoint, it won’t make much of difference over who is finally elected as the president. If Trump administration comes for the second term, there will be a continuity of policy. Trade, technology and security ties will grow further.

Prime Minister Modi has good relation with President Trump as witnessed during Howdy Modi and Namaste Trump events. Trump’s tough stance towards China echoes favourably in New Delhi. But even if there is a change of administration in the US, one does not expect a major shift in its policy towards India. Kamala Harris would be a bonus for India,” opines Prof Rajan.

In conclusion, he says, “India has become an indispensable partner to the US in the Indo-Pacific. Washington cannot contain the rise of China alone-it needs regional partners like India, Japan and Australia. In short, India has become a dependable partner of the US in the region. The interests of the two countries converge in security, commerce and political realms. This administration would be tough on Russia, but soft on Iran and China.”

Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, Bappaditya Mukherjee, Former Faculty, State University of New York, Geneseo, says “The lack of a decisive result in the US Presidential election points to the high level of political polarization among the American people. This means that whoever emerges as the winner will find it very hard to govern effectively. The resistance to whoever is in power will continue to be fierce. Hence, it is futile to expect a return to normalcy in US domestic politics in the near future.”

“From India’s point of view, Trump’s history of antipathy towards China is a decisive advantage. Hence, a Trump re-election will be in India’s strategic interest given the worsening ties with its northern neighbour. At the same time, Trump is extremely sensitive to overextending US resources abroad. Hence, India must be cautious in negotiating its commitments to any US-led coalition of the willing to counter China in the Asia-Pacific region. Compared to Biden, Trump is relatively disinterested in making human rights an issue in US foreign policy. This will ease any international pressure on India pertaining to its record in Kashmir,” Bappaditya Mukherjee opines.

“On the other hand, key constituencies in Biden’s coalition is very opposed to virulent brand of majoritarianism. A Biden administration is likely to be sensitive to such pressure groups and lobbies. This may translate into a harder US position on Kashmir, the more equidistant policy between Indian and Pakistan and much more vocal criticism of policies such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC),” he adds.

“The prosperous and politically influential Indian-American community will continue to be a source of continuity and stability in US-India relations. All the four Indian-American Democratic lawmakers — Dr Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthi — have been re-elected to the US House of Representatives. This group of Indian House representatives might grow with at least one more as a Democratic candidate, physician Dr Hiral Tipirneni, is currently leading against her Republican incumbent. While this is a welcome development, India must not overstate its significance. The fealty of these representatives would remain, above all else, to their respective House districts. Moreover, their foreign policy interests would also reflect that of their constituents and may not align with the foreign policy interests of India,” Bappaditya Mukherjee observes.

“Though full results are still expected from the key battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, we can draw a few conclusions. The level of support for Trump is surprisingly high, given his poor handling of the pandemic, and despite the fact that he has lost support among the elderly and among suburban women. He appears to have increased support from some groups, such as Cuban-Americans and other Hispanics. Also, irrespective of whether he wins or loses, it is quite clear that he has the loyalty of the Republican and conservative voters. He has been able to generate huge turnout, surpassing Democratic party gains in specific demographics such as women. This clearly has a long-term impact on the Republican party,” says Prof Rajesh Rajagopalan, School of International Studies, JNU.

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