What 'Goodbye Trump' mean for Modi?
The US elections were, to some extent, being seen through the prism of Indian domestic politics with two broad perspectives (among many others):
- Modi supporters who cast the Biden-Harris ticket as “anti-India” because it had criticised the unilateral stripping of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy and subsequent crackdown on civil rights, as well as the Citizenship Act Amendments.
- Modi critics who hoped or expected to see a Joe Biden presidency offer more public censure of the Bharatiya Janata Party government’s illiberal moves, and an expectation that the new administration might keep its distance from India, after Modi all but endorsed Trump during the campaign.
At most it gives us a glimpse of how India’s elite – liberal or right-wing – are both invested in American elections, and would like to use them as a lens through which to view their own politics.
The triumph of Trump over the last few years was seen as vindication of the illiberal majoritarian approach couched in the language of anti-elite populism that Modi also embodies. The fact that the two not only got along, but held openly political public rallies together only reinforced this notion.
Trump’s defeat, as a result, gives ammunition to the other side.
“Overall, the Narendra Modi government will find a Biden presidency to be less volatile, more fully staffed and relatively familiar with India,” wrote Tanvi Madan. And of course, having a person of Indian heritage in the White House might have intangibly positive effects.