For the first time since he (unfortunately) entered the US presidential race, Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump has made a remark focused on India.
"India is doing great," Trump told CNN in an interview on Monday.
"That was the beginning of China. That was the beginning of India, when India — by the way, India is doing great. Nobody talks about it. And I have big jobs going up in India. But India is doing great... All of a sudden, people are talking about China and India and other places, even from an economic standpoint. America has come down a long way, a long way. The United States has come down a long way, and it's very, very sad. We're not respected"
Even though Trump's sudden respect for India comes as a surprise keeping in mind his views on basically anything or anyone not American, this statement definitely does not mean India is an exception to his profound views. In fact, that very idea is laughable.
If Trump miraculously becomes US President in November this year, India will have to deal with some unstable ties with the US — almost on the verge of being bipolar. As recently as November 2015, Trump had actually accused India of "taking advantage of the US".
"If you look at the way China and India and almost everybody takes advantage of the United States — China in particular, because they’re so good,” The Hindu had quoted Trump as saying.
Of course, this outburst by Trump was not really noticed a lot by Indians because, as the report adds, India was mentioned only once and Trump's focus was more on the "China threat".
But the fact that a US presidential aspirant said that India was doing great just two months after accusing it of taking advantage of the US is quite disturbing.
Of course, 'taking advantage' is a concept with which Trump is well-versed. Let's not forget he's got two massive projects coming up in Mumbai and Pune. Imagine the hordes of activists, politicians, karyakartas and general bystanders that would gather to protest outside the construction sites of his Trump towers in both cities if he spewed negative pronouncements about India.
The argument can be made that in November last year, he was still a joke candidate — whose views were brushed aside, but by now, has captured the imagination of the American Right and extreme Right to emerge as a genuine contender.
Yes, that last part made us shudder too.
More importantly though, do we really need praise from a man who wants to build a wall along the southern border of the US to prevent immigrants from Mexico coming into the country?
And then make Mexico pay for that wall?
Does India need validation of its greatness from the man who wants a complete ban on Muslims in the US?
Trump as US President would be bad for all Indians because each and every Indian, irrespective of caste or religion, would an immigrant and part of a minority in the US. And we all know what Trump feels about immigrants and minorities.
Moreover, Trump as US President will also be bad news for India's employment rates. In August last year, Trump had proposed to raise the minimum wage for H-1B visas, the most popular work visa for Indian technology professionals, as he released his policy of putting American workers first, PTI had reported.
In fact, in a Huffington Post article titled 'Why Donald Trump's Rise Is Good News For India', it was argued that Trump's rise is actually better for India provided "there is no practical way Donald Trump can be elected President."
Keeping that assumption in mind, Trump's rise would then actually boost Hillary Clinton's chances of becoming US President. And Clinton as US President, the article said, would be better for India because "with her record of support for India against Pakistan, her progressive immigration policy and her general concentration on Asia, Clinton might turn out to be a better friend for India in the White House than other candidates."
In any case, it doesn't matter how many times Trump tries to woo India by calling it great.
Until he gets rid of his xenophobic views (which will probably never happen), Trump will be bad for India... and the world.
With inputs from PTI