Guest blog by Madhu Nair
Many would say it hardly matters considering the Presidential debates never saw India figure even once. In just about four days the war will come to an end and the world will be introduced to the new President. Will it be Obama or Romney is a question better left for time and the voters to answer.
For both the candidates it’s never been an easy walk so far. Romney has had his share of issues. His handling of personal taxes, his association with Bain Capital, the unfortunately leaked video, his lack of clarity on foreign affairs and the frequent bloopers had Team Obama label him as a plutocrat who could be anybody but the President. Obama too has fallen short of being given a definite second term. He has already drawn flak for his inability to reduce unemployment. A lingering economy, a fragile market, his mishandling of the Libya and Syria crisis and the failed promises made on hope and change seems to have the odds against him.
So what’s the mood in India? Though the election result does not appear to give sleepless nights to the biggies in Delhi, there is a certain degree of excitement keeping in mind the amount of importance a President of the United States has in the world. Manasi Kakatkar, a Master in International Security and Economic Policy from the University of Maryland says, “Obama has apparently slighted the Indians both by not mentioning them enough and then mentioning them only in reference to reducing outsourcing of work. But from a long term perspective, a second Obama Presidency will be beneficial to India both economically and geo-strategically. Obama holds more promise when it comes to dealing strictly with Pakistan and terrorism emanating from there. Economically as well, he is on the right track to securing a strong economic future for the US, which consequently means better trade and economic gains for India in the long run.”
Shakti Shetty of Mid-Day too seems to echo the same sentiment though he maintains that the election results would not bother India much. “Going by the popular opinion, Obama turned out to be quite tepid compared to the bonhomie his Republican predecessor helped create. And there was always noise on the outsourcing front which obviously hurt the Indian ITES sector. On the brighter side, Obama reached out to the public during his celebrated visit, including the Parliament. But the critics always maintained that Obama provided more lip service than needed. He didn’t get too much time to express his admiration for India. At least not in practical terms. Romney may seem like a safer bet but he doesn’t have any precedent and that might work in his favor. Maybe it won’t. After all, he could have the beginner’s luck if he wins the ultimate poll.”
The view further becomes a bit of a personal juggernaut when it comes to the popular Common Man of India. Shybu Khan, a keen observer of US-India relations likes to keep things close to his heart. He says, “I would be unfruitful to think that the American presidential elections won’t affect us, and I am certainly not doing that, but the first challenge I encountered was deciding on a favorite, both for practical as well as selfish reasons.” He further elaborates, “Mitt Romney seems like a good man with good ideas and offers an alternative to what Barack Obama has expressed thus far – and that is a good thing. But in a world that we live in today, continuity and experience edges out flamboyance and experimentation. Storm Sandy – if handled adeptly — could act as a positive wave that convinces the voters and allows Obama his full term to truly perform and hopefully say, “Yes, he did.”
So the general view still tries to balance itself between the promising Democrat and the ambitious Republican. With the recent polls showing a tough contest between the two the game is evenly poised. The candidates have fought with fervor and have openly ballyhooed each other with their campaigns terming each one as regressive and siding with the bad and the evil. History says that U.S. elections has mattered when it came to worldly affairs and there is no way it would choose to go otherwise – at least in the near future. What we really need is a leader who in principle is enterprising, human and respects the future of every man and woman. For now, India can only keep their fingers crossed and trust the Americans to choose the best.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of USINPAC.