INDIA: Analysts predict continuity in US policy

He has made fun of the accents of Indian call centre workers, accused Indians of taking jobs away from Americans and pledged to curb the number of Indians entering the United States to work.

But Mr Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has also called India a "great place" and the only country that can act as a check on "dangerous" Pakistan.

The remarks leave Indians confused and unsure about Mr Trump.

In contrast, many regard his likely presidential rival Hillary Clinton as a friend of India.

"With Hillary Clinton, we have experience and something to go by, while Trump is an unknown quality... If there is a need for protectionist measures, one would expect Clinton to be more moderate than Trump. Trump would be more aggressive in dealing with Pakistan," said Mr Naresh Chandra, a former Indian ambassador to the US.

"Most Indians would like to see Hillary Clinton in the White House."

India and the US have drawn closer in recent years, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled to visit the US next month, his fourth trip to the US in two years.

While the rhetoric against the Indian outsourcing industry remains a worry, with Mrs Clinton also saying she would punish US companies that sent jobs out of the country, foreign policy analysts predict a continuity in US policy towards India.

"Whoever comes to power will see the advantage of maintaining a strategic partnership with India," said former Indian foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh.

Still, Mr Trump is not without supporters. Members of Hindu Sena, a right-wing Hindu group, are praying for his victory on Nov 8.

Nirmala Ganapathy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'INDIA: Analysts predict continuity in US policy'. Print Edition | Subscribe