In post-Obama era, India-US trade looks for new direction

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 08, 2016

Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump

By the time Indians wake up on Wednesday morning, America would have elected its 45th President in the 58th quadrennial presidential elections.

But whether it is Hillary Clinton or billionaire Donald Trump, the concern in India relates to whose policies will bring the world’s oldest and largest democracies closer both strategically and economically.

While Clinton is not new to Indians and is considered an old hand “who doesn’t need to spell out her India strategy”, Trump, the Republican nominee, is an unknown face.

“Trump may be a darling of the Indian-American community, but Indians living in India clearly know what and how she (Clinton) is,” a former Ambassador of India to the US said, requesting anonymity.

During his campaign, Trump has stated that he considers India a “key strategic ally” of the US and that he is a “big fan of Hinduism.”

But his views on migration are a concern, especially for the Indian industry, especially the IT sector, which has called the US decision to hike visa fees as “discriminatory”.

Both sides have set a target of $500 billion for bilateral trade in goods and services compared with $109 billion in 2015. The US is India’s topmost export destination, accounting for more than 15 per cent of India’s total trade, with a $30-billion trade surplus, .

However, it is only in the past five years that the two sides have come closer strategically. Apart from holding annual joint military exercises, sales of military hardware reached over $15 billion in 2015.

“We look forward to working with the new administration to carry forward the agenda of fostering new partnerships and creating awareness of the collaborative efforts between India and US industry,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General of CII.

The US elections also have bearing on the Indian capital markets. “The Sensex has been witnessing a modicum of volatility in the last couple of weeks. The stock market would react sharply to the ultimate winner of the elections,” said Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, Care Ratings.

Published on November 08, 2016
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