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Trump has hit the right chord with India, Indian-Americans, say his campaign officials

US President Donald Trump has hit the right chord with India by standing up to China and never intervening in the Kashmir issue, officials of his presidential campaign have asserted.

Seeking re-election for a second consecutive term, Trump, 74, is pitted against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, 77, in the November 3 presidential elections.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, there was a record drop in unemployment rate of Indian-Americans under the Trump administration, his Indian-American supporters said.

Trump elevated India’s stature on the world stage, stood up to China in support of India and had never intervened in the Kashmir issue, they claimed.

“In a nutshell, Trump has hit the right chord with India and Indian-Americans,” said Al Mason, the co-chair for the Trump Victory Indian-American Finance Committee and for the recently created Indian Voices for Trump.

The Trump campaign’s strong pitch that he is the best bet for the community and India-US relationship for the next four years comes on the eve of the Democratic National Convention that would for the first time nominate an Indian-American and an African-American, Senator Kamala Harris, as the party’s vice-presidential candidate. Born to a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, California senator Harris, 55, if elected, would be second in line of succession after Biden.

“The choice for Indian-Americans is clear this fall, four more years for Trump/Pence (Vice President Mike Pence),” said Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, an eminent Indian-American lawyer and a senior Republican Party leader from California.

Dhillon is also the co-chair for Indian Voices for Trump by the Trump Campaign.

“President Trump has been a great friend to India, with historic warmth and feeling between the two allies, and that will only continue in the next four years. President Trump is also a friend of religious liberty, very important to the diaspora Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who came here from India,” Dhillon said.

Prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment rate among Indian-Americans dropped by nearly 33.33 per cent, a senior official of the Trump administration told PTI.

The unemployment rate for Indian-Americans dropped from 4.1 per cent in 2015 to a record low of 2.5 per cent in 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics.

“Indian-Americans are arguably the group that have most benefited from America’s freedoms which include free markets, freedom to pursue happiness and freedom to aspire and strive for the best life possible. Also, personal freedom to practise one’s religion,” Mrinalini Kumari, co-chair of the Indian Voices for Trump, said.

Employment among Indian-Americans increased from 2.1 million in 2016 to an all-time high of 2.5 million in 2019, according to the latest figures from the Department of Labour.

Indian-American members of the Trump campaign attribute this to the economic policies of his administration.

“The Indian-American community is filled with hard-working achievers who create jobs, technology, and small businesses, all of which have thrived thanks to Trump,” Dhillon said.

“In addition to these economic metrics, the administration’s focus on equal opportunity as opposed to quotas has ensured educational and job opportunities for Indian-American students and workers,” Dhillon said.

Referring to his recent survey in battleground states, Mason said Indian-Americans feel respected and acknowledged for the first time by a US president.

“No other US President has ever given the respect to an Indian Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) or to India, as much as President Trump has,” he said.

“President Trump has elevated India’s stature on the world stage. Of course, credit also goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his smart policy towards the US. The India-US relationship has never been stronger, and the Indian-American community in the US largely credits both Trump and Modi for deepening the ties between the two countries,” Mason said.