Indo-US diaspora: The way ahead

The self proclaimed “world inspector” has always tried to maintain pragmatic relationship with the international community. Yes, the world inspector here denotes the United States of America. India, too, has maintained diplomatic relations with the USA. But, relations between India-US have always been fluctuating. Both the nations have seen the sweetness and sourness, whether the US support to Pakistan during the 1971 war or Nuclear Deal with India is concerned. The relation between US and India have thus always dynamic. The position always changed with the change of time. India shared little sour relations with USA due to its allied relations with the Soviet Union, despite being a non-aligned nation. But, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and with the policy reformation during 1991, many changes were witnessed. With the presidential visit of Bill Clinton, many saw a new dawn of relations between the two countries. America’s strong stance against terrorism and international condemnation to Pakistan of conducting terror activities against the integrity of India has opened new doors. But, there are certain unaddressed or new issues that have become the focal point of the 2016 US Presidential Elections.

America has two major parties i.e. Republican Party and Democratic Party. There has always been a presumed belief that, India has shared cordial relations with the Democrats than the Republicans. Hillary Clinton, a favourable presidential contestant can be seen as a likely nominee for India’s interest. Her strong condemnation against terrorism on Pakistani soil and many other diplomatic initiatives can be seen favourable for India. On the other hand, Donald Trump, a Republican candidate, can be hard to understand. As, with his recent demeanour against the Muslims and immigrants have raised many concerns. His outward speeches can be a cause of concern for the Indian interest, as India has the world’s second largest Muslim population and many Indian origin workers in America are alarmed as it can be a threat for their well being and cordial atmosphere in the US. So, a close watch of the upcoming 2016 Presidential elections is of immense importance to India.

There are several issues surrounding the focal point of these elections, such as the rise of ISIS, refugee crisis, fluctuation of oil prices due to issues between Iran-Saudi Arabia, P5+1 deal or Nuclear Deal with India. However, I would intend to focus on the rather volatile issue of the Visa policies and Immigration issues between these two nations. There is no denying the fact that there has always been a fear amongst the Americans about losing their jobs to the foreign workers because foreign workers are more cost efficient as compared to the US citizens. In this election, such issues have caught the eye of many Americans. The Obama administration too has considered taking decisions to hike visa fees. India is the largest  user of H1B visas, and such have been seen as discriminatory by the Indian authorities. India share a profitable and sound business with the USA in the IT sector. Such hike is likely to impact the US economy as the Indian IT firms have a major role to play in structuring the US economy.  The Indian authorities have condemned the decisions, and have taken the matter to the US authorities. India has also stated that if talks failed, then it would raise this issue Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organisation. Rigid immigration laws and hike in visa fees will have a direct impact on the Indian interest. Many IT firms and well trained professionals will lose their jobs would be refrained from several business opportunities.

India too has thought of taking retaliatory measures, but has believed in scrutinising all the possibilities before any hard stand is taken. The 2016 elections will be dependent upon these crucial issues and how the new regime will ultimately deal with it. With the recent developments, the shift is towards the Trump’s ideology of enforcing strict immigration regime. But, election promises do not go hand in hand with the needs of the International community. If America wants to continue its influence around the globe, then such reforms are unlikely to take place. But, India on the other hand, must be ready with its policy framework and must be equipped with sound initiatives to tackle the upcoming foreseeable situations. The relations between both the countries are entirely dependent upon how these issues are dealt, and the result will only be seen once the new President will be chosen.

Shreyan Acharya

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