India: US silence leaves India guessing about its post-poll fate

It's not surprising that India hasn't figured much in the US election campaign, Indiana University Professor Sumit Ganguly writes in Monday's Deccan Chronicle newspaper. But the poll silence nevertheless leaves India guessing about what the next president's moves will be on India's possible role in post-war Afghanistan, climate change negotiations that could limit India's economic growth and US oil sanctions against Iran that could further limit India's energy supply.

Though outsourcing was a political football in the early stages of the 2012 campaign, as it was in 2008 at the beginning of the economic crisis, Ganguly argues that India's IT services industry has nothing to worry about.

"Once in office, however, [outsourcing] was not a subject that [Obama's] administration returned to with any vigor," Ganguly notes. "Nevertheless his campaign rhetoric had caused much concern to Indian policymakers as well as the titans of Indian commerce and industry."

"In the current presidential debates, the issue of outsourcing and offshoring of jobs has again arisen. However, there have been few explicit references to India. Instead, India’s behemoth neighbor, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), has really attracted the ire of both presidential candidates."

Meanwhile, the "deafening silence" about India in the context of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where New Delhi has a vital interest "can be construed in two possible ways," Ganguly writes.

"At one level, it can be seen as a disturbing development as India is hardly immune to the policy choices that are made about those two countries especially as 2014 approaches. On the other hand, it could also be argued that this lack of any explicit attention to India may also reflect a lack of disagreement about policy options."

His conclusion: "The time and attention devoted to India or not in this campaign is not necessarily the best portent of the likely policy stances of either administration."