This article first appeared in the Indian Foreign Affairs Journal. The views are of the author(s).
What does the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA mean for India? The short answer is that no one knows, not even Trump himself. India was fortunate not to feature prominently during the heated and divisive 2016 US election season. The occasional statements concerning India by President Trump and his advisors during and after the campaign sent mixed and sometimes contradictory signals. Additionally, the belated appointment of senior officials to key government positions after his inauguration (and the profiles of those currently in place) suggest that some of the bigger questions about US engagement with the rest of the world remain unsettled.
In an era of greater flux and uncertainty, it is nonetheless important for India to identify the key variables triggered by President Trump’s election, and their implications. They relate, essentially, to four broad areas: bilateral relations; the Asian balance of power; terrorism; and global governance.
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[Trump's U.N. General Assembly speech] will reinforce the [North Korean] leadership’s position that the United States is hostile to North Korea. This is exactly what North Korea is talking about, and [Trump] said it right there on TV in front of the whole world.
[President Trump's] trashing of the Iran nuclear deal will raise warning signs for North Korea. This is not going to get them to talk if the U.S. is just going to tear it up...North Korea would likely just wait out Trump since they think in terms of dynasties, and they know that we think in terms of electoral cycles.