The US Presidential Election is right around the corner, and it is not surprising that the interest within India and amongst the Indian expats living in the U.S. and also right around the globe has seen a drastic upswing. This interest is expected to reach a crescendo by the time we get to the crucial final stages and everyone from school children to political bigwigs in India are following the race to the White House with doting eyes, and the curiosity and anxiety around being palpable indeed. The Indian media has given the election coverage its due space, voice, time, and ink, and has done a commendable job covering it thus far.
This heightened sense of anticipation comes as no surprise to many of the analysts who have often elucidated that the strength of this flourishing partnership between these two great countries is not just driven by political convenience and economic sense, but by popular consensus of its people, fuelled by a firm conviction that they share a common geopolitical destiny.
Many opinion-makers, along with other social and political commentators, have already christened the Indo-US partnership as one of the, if not, the partnership that will shape the world around us for years to come, with Democracy proving to be the mortar that binds it strongly together, seamlessly.
Although the result of the Presidential Election will be crucial as it will be the fulcrum around which all the policies and programs will be implemented with the result one way or the other having serious repercussions on how things will shape out for many, including us; the fact remains that be it Obama or Romney that ultimately prevail, it is not expected to dramatically impact the relation with India. The basic rationale behind this premonition is the fact that the fundamental reasoning and the practical logic behind the Indo-US friendship far outweigh the narrow sighted political concerns or compulsions that might sway things towards the negative and the deplorable.
Despite reports coming out of the U.S. relating to outsourcing and the recent statement on the investment climate and economic reforms in India, often hyped by the media covering the campaign, the grapevine in India suggests that no one is losing sleep over the issue and the popular sentiment in India is largely pragmatic as a strong America is considered best for India – and that outsourcing was always about making things efficient and ultimately better, wasn’t it? At least India still believes so, despite what the naysayers might say.
Obama is by and large still highly regarded in India and his visit to India is remembered fondly even today. However, in contrast, Mitt Romney remains a relative unknown in India, although his name has been associated with India; which unfortunately for him hasn’t been all that positive to say the least. Nevertheless, he does enjoy the backing of someone whose name many Indians might recognize – Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s Indian-American governor who lambasted Obama in a tirade and labeled him the most incompetent president since Jimmy Carter. Having said that, the question still remains, does that speak to the majority of the Indian-American or for those having links with India? Probably not! But the jury is still out and many in India favor Romney to topple Obama with the majority expecting a close race too close to call just yet.
No matter what rhetoric gets thrown around, which is to be expected during the peak of campaign season, the underlying prognosis still leaves room for a guarded sense of optimism and excitement for the relationship’s future. This talks volumes to the speed at which the Indo-US relationship has developed, which has naturally attracted a lot of attention from nations with their own prejudices, biases, concerns, stake or involvement in this partnership.
India and U.S are seen as natural allies and have common values and ultimate goal, and the popular analogy used to describe the two has been that of a rising elephant and a slumbering giant, with both expected to thrive in the long-term, and more importantly, seen to be better off together. Both are all set to be key architects of change, not only for their own citizens, but for million and billions the world over who are counting on their leadership.
The partnership assumes even more significance under the economic environment that we live in today – a case in point being, “Dr. Doom”, the Economist Nouriel Roubini reiterating his predication for a, ‘perfect storm,’ among many others, and the world looking to the United States, the European Union, along with prominent countries like India and China, for a way through or over the dark clouds that loom on the horizon – too menacingly for comfort.
In India the United States has a partner it can rely on through the thick and thin, and the upcoming U.S. elections will be a significant milestone in a journey that although has many travails strewn across the anvil of time, but promises destined prosperity for both countries, its people, and the world therein. Although this partnership has had a checkered time thus far, I won’t be sullied for saying that the best is yet to come from the two greatest democracies on Earth.