‘India should keep lobbying in US under Trump’


With Donald Trump in the White House, India should not stop but continue its lobbying efforts in the US Congress to further its interests, an Indian academic familiar with the practice said here on Monday.

Delivering a lecture on “US-India relations under Trump-Modi administration: What lies ahead”, Ashok Sharma, Fellow at the Australia-India Institute in the University of Melbourne and the author of the book “Indian Lobbying and its Influence on US Decision Making”, said that all US governments have tried to curb the practice of lobbying but failed and Trump too was trying to bring some reforms in the practice.

“The US-India relationship is at a stage where it cannot be derailed,” Sharma said.

“But we have to continue our lobbying efforts in the US Congress if we have to make it the defining partnership of the 21st century.”

Sharma said that India’s lobbying efforts got a strong boost with the formation of the India Caucus in the US House of Representatives in 1993.

He said that it was lobbying that helped boost the India-US bilateral relationship and was the reason behind the historic India-US civil nuclear deal that was signed in 2005.

The academic said India-US ties were based on geopolitics and with China marking its presence in various parts of the world, including the Asia-Pacific, and rise of Islamic terrorism, New Delhi has become an indispensable partner of Washington.

As for what would President Trump mean for India, he said that “we need to wait and watch 100 days of the Trump administration”.

Sharma said that Trump was a businessman and he would want to cut deals with other countries.

“He (Trump) is questioning all multilateral deals, including the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership,” he stated.

However, Sharma added that the India-US partnership was very much institutionalized now and no US president could bring it down just like that.

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