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Minhaz Merchant

Minhaz Merchant is the biographer of Rajiv Gandhi and Aditya Birla and author of The New Clash of Civilizations (Rupa, 2014). He is founder of Sterling Newspapers Pvt. Ltd. which was acquired by the Indian Express group

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India’s Trump Card

Overall, a Trump presidency will be better for India than a Clinton presidency. She would have followed Obama’s policy of preaching religious tolerance to India and mollycoddling Pakistan over its two-faced approach to “good” and “bad” terrorists

Photo Credit : Reuters

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Donald Trump didn’t win the US presidential election. Hillary Clinton lost it.

Against a less disliked and distrusted Democratic rival than Clinton (such as Bernie Sanders), Trump would have lost.

The verdict against Hillary had nothing to do with her gender. It had to do with Hillary’s thirty-year record in public life – first as a high-profile lawyer, then as a tough-as-nails First Lady, and finally as a two-term New York senator and one-term secretary of state.

Through these years of public service, the Clintons amassed extraordinary wealth. The corpus of the Clinton Foundation swelled to $2 billion, much of it during Hillary’s term as secretary of state.

Conflict of interest lurked around every corner, especially with donations from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other radical Islamic states.

As secretary of state, Clinton’s decision to house a private email server in the basement of her residence was a fatal mistake. Clinton’s sense of entitlement in what is still a country founded on the principle of “one law for all” sealed her fate.

How should India work with a Trump presidency? Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Trump. India-US relations will benefit in several ways from a Trump presidency. The two leaders have similar approaches to combating terrorism. Trump will be far less accommodating of Pakistan’s state-sponsored jihadi machine than Barack Obama was.

On trade, Trump will be a pragmatic deal-maker. He has tasted business success as a real estate franchise partner in projects in Mumbai, Pune and Gurgaon. These projects are currently valued at $1.50 billion and will now be handled by his two sons, Eric and Donald Jr, and daughter Ivanka as well as son-in-law Jared Kushner, a budding media entrepreneur.

Trump will put his business empire in a blind trust. But with his family running it, the arrangement has a distinctly desi feel. No wonder Trump gets India.

Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric alarms some Indians. Will he cut down on outsourced jobs as he promised during the election campaign? Unlikely. Trump was appealing to his blue-collar base who have lost jobs to China and other countries. But while Trump will go after China, whom he has called a trade and currency manipulator, he will not target the Indian IT outsourcing industry which helps US Fortune 500 companies cut costs. Trump, if anything, is a realist.

Overall, a Trump presidency will be better for India than a Clinton presidency. She would have followed Obama’s policy of preaching religious tolerance to India and mollycoddling Pakistan over its two-faced approach to “good” and “bad” terrorists.

With Clinton, it would have been business as usual. With Trump, it will be just business.