Why Some Hindu Groups Love Donald Trump?

Venkata Kondubhatla

Venkata Kondubhatla

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington DC: In the outskirts of Robbinsville, New Jersey, surrounded by the great expanses of land and a large pond at the front, stands the temple of Swami Narayanan. Popularly known as the New Jersey temple, it is the biggest in the country and a sign of growing Hindu’s influence in the state and in America at large.

The Donald Trump’s acceptance to address Hindus in a New Jersey rally is another corroboration of that emerging Hindu community in the state. It is also a sign that the community has grown to become a significant vote bank in America that cannot be ignored.

This is the first outreach to the Indian-American community ever by a major US political party. Though Republican nominee enjoys only a quarter of the Indian-American support, the deeper connection among them with Trump seems to have begun with his policies and went beyond.

The Trump’s event, titled “Humanity united against terror,” is scheduled for September 24, just two days before the first presidential debate. Shalabh Kumar, an Illinois businessman and the founder of Republican Hindu Coalition, is the man behind persuading Trump.

Kumar, a passionate Republican and also a donor of $1 million towards the Trump campaign, said in his interview to ET Now that Hindus identify with Trump and Republican Party because of the shared values of tradition, family and faith in God.

Trump-fans-in-India

Hindu Sena celebrating Trump’s Birthday

But coming to the actual policy itself, Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering into the country, and his rhetoric against Islamist terrorism has attracted attention from many ardent Hindu groups in America.

Not only in the US, but even back home, some Hindu groups have become admirers of Donald Trump because of such rhetoric. Some groups have celebrated his birthday, while others have organized praying ceremonies for the Trump’s victory in the US elections.

But coming to the larger question of how India would benefit if Trump became the US president, experts say that two of his policies could help India in his presidency.

One of them is his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP. Squashing the US involvement in TPP could help India, which never signed up with the agreement. There is a natural concern within India that with TPP enacted,the partnership might favor twelve Asian countries, including Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan that are participants of the TPP, over India.

From American perspective, TPP is part of its strategy in Asia and Hillary Clinton is not against it. Whereas, Trump is against free trade and for imposing trade tariffs in general, and when it comes to TPP his policy remains the same. Still, Trump’s flip flop on H1B visa is likely to hurt the outsourcing companies in India, such as Infosys and Wipro, that depend on H1B workers.

The second Trump’s policy that fetches India,from Hindu groups point of view,is the protection of the US military.

“We are depleted, but we take care of other nations and there are good things about that, but they have to pay us,” Trump said when announcing his vice president Mike Pence.

“The US spends ten times on its military than anybody else,” he said.

Trump’s protectionism would push the US to remove its military bases from Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea and would in turn allow Indian military might to spread to the surrounding countries and make India an important country geopolitically in Asia.

This policy, though doesn’t intend in anyway to appeal directly to the Hindu nationalist groups, has drawn them for the potential opportunity of showing military might beyond the political borders.

The love for Trump is a combination of his plank that whipped up Hindu groups and the commonalities between the two, such as traditional values, that made Hindus identify themselves with Trump.

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