December 13, 2016: The number of Indians immigrating to America during the early 20th century was just a few hundred people. For xenophobes, that was obviously unbearable and in 1910, a government commission concluded that Indians were “the most undesirable of all Asiatics”.
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Today, probably the most successful minority group in the country is the Indian-born Americans as compared to other big foreign-born groups. They are comparatively successful, richer and very well educated. The first major study of how this whole transformation happened is well analysed in “The Other One Percent”.
India’s diaspora is vast and is spread across the world. After Britain abolished slavery, in the colonial times, many moved as laborers in order to build the east African railway. And after 1990, many moved to America when America’s immigration rules were relaxed.
According to The Economist, today, “half of all motels are owned by Indians, mainly Gujaratis. Whereas, Punjabis dominate the franchises for 7-Eleven stores and Subway sandwiches in Los Angeles.”
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In the tech industry, a quarter or more of the Indian-born workforce is employed. Not just that the tech start-ups mostly have Indian founders but also in the big firms Indians have made a place for themselves. Satya Nadella, the Microsoft’s boss, was born in Hyderabad, India. Also, Sundar Pichai, who runs Google is from Tamil Nadu.
The “The Other One Percent” however avoid explaining Indians’ success in America through their particular culture. Instead, it argues how “Indians cannot walk across a border to America due to different reasons like caste, class and only those who all have above average financial condition can afford to move to America.
It doesn’t even highlight how the gilded corner of the diaspora influences India.
According to The Economist, “The American-educated children of India’s governing elite probably helped push India to open up its economy in 1991. The tens of billions of dollars of income earned in America by India’s big technology firms is crucial for its balance of payments. And a new generation of entrepreneurs who have led a boom in e-commerce in India in the last five years is almost all American educated, or have worked for American technology firms.”
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If Donald Trump clamps down on immigration in America, the mutually beneficial will surely slow down.
Microsoft has opened registration for the virtual edition of its ‘Build 2020 developer conference scheduled from May 19-21. Anyone can attend the online-only event for free and developers will no longer have to pay the $2,395 entry fee.
This time, the tech giant is keeping some of its traditional keynote-style openings, with opening remarks from CEO Satya Nadella.
‘Build 2020’ will now be a 48-hour virtual event and sessions, talks and demos will all be held across multiple time zones. There will still be Q&A sessions and interactive parts of the broadcasts, reports The Verge.
“While things will look a little different this year as we all absorb and adjust to new realities brought on COVID-19, we’re excited about Microsoft Build 2020, a 48-hour virtual event starting May 19 at 8 a.m. PT that will kick off with welcome remarks from Satya Nadella,” said Scott Hanselman, Principal Programme Manager, Microsoft.
“This will be followed by a session with and for Developers hosted by me,” Hanselman added.
Microsoft had originally planned to hold the event in Seattle but canceled in-person gatherings in March due to coronavirus pandemic. (IANS)
As video conferencing becomes the new normal, Google is adding roughly 3 million new users on its Meets app daily and have seen a 30-fold increase in usage since January.
There are now over 100 million daily Meet meeting participants, according to Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “Over 100 million students and educators are using Google Classroom, double the number from the beginning of March. We have seen a massive increase in demand for Chromebooks. Analysts have reported 400 per cent increase during the week of March 21 year-over-year. And schools and businesses in particular are using our secure video conferencing platform, Meet,” Pichai said during the earnings call late Tuesday.
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Emphasising that once the emergency is past, the world will not look the same, Pichai said that some social norms will change and many businesses are looking to reinvent their operations. “Ultimately, we’ll see a long-term acceleration of movement from businesses to digital services, including increased online work, education, medicine, shopping and entertainment. These changes will be significant and lasting,” said Pichai.
People are spending significantly more time on their Android apps with downloads of apps from Google Play rising 30 per cent from February to March. “YouTube watch-time has also significantly increased. One area in particular is live streams. I hope you saw Andrea Bocelli on YouTube live on Easter, which just had over 39 million views and it was truly beautiful,” Pichai added.
Android previewed Android 11, which includes seamless 5G connectivity and a smarter keyboard with a faster messaging experience.
“And as I mentioned, we have seen significant growth in play. There are now over 2.5 billion monthly active play devices worldwide. And in hardware, we saw a decline in device activations in the quarter due to falling customer demand globally. But I’m excited about the product roadmap ahead for the year, including yesterday’s launch of Pixel Buds 2,” informed Pichai. (IANS)
As the coronavirus pandemic dominates global news in the United States, progress toward the next presidential election scheduled to be held on November 3 moves slowly forward. President Donald Trump had no real opposition in the Republican party and is running for re-election. And it has now become apparent that former Vice President Joe Biden will be his opponent as the Democratic candidate for president.
What would a Trump victory bode for the future of US-India relations? What would a Biden victory bode? Let me answer each of those questions in turn.
Given the love fests of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, Texas, in which Trump participated in September of 2019, and Trump’s ‘Namaste Trump’ event hosted by Modi in India in February of this year, it might be assumed that the future for US-India relations is a splendid one. This would be an incorrect assumption.
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Both of these events were more symbolic than substantive. Trump’s participation in them undoubtedly helped to persuade some — perhaps many — Indian American Modi supporters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 to cast their ballots for Trump in 2020. Trump’s campaign team took steps to ensure this by holding an event at his Mar-a-Lago resort in which a group of prominent Indian Americans announced their plans to work for his re-election and to mobilize Indian Americans on his behalf.
To understand the future potential of India’s relations with the US. with Trump as president, however, it is necessary to look beyond these political moves and to examine the present state of those relations and Trump’s personal style.
In a word, the best way to characterize the current relations between the US and India is “functional”. The relationship was relatively good for the first two years of Trump’s presidency. In fact, near the end of 2018, Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, was quoted in the media s saying: “This has been a landmark year for US-India ties as we build out stronger relationships across the board.”
Then, in 2019, the relations went off the track in the first half of the year after the US and India got into a tit-for-tat tariff war after the US terminated India’s Generalized System of Preferences which allowed India to send certain goods to the US duty-free. There have been continuing efforts to structure a “modest” trade deal since then. It was thought there might be some type of deal done in September of 2019 while Modi was in the US by year’s end, and then during Trump’s India visit. But, as of today, there is still no deal.
This inability to get any meaningful trade agreement in place speaks volumes about India’s potential future relations with India with Trump as president. So, too does Trump’s style.
Trump’s campaign slogans this time around are “Keep America Great” and “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” Trump is not a policy wonk and most of his effort will go toward “America First”. This involves making the US more isolated by withdrawing from international agreements, restructuring trade agreements, emphasizing building walls to stop immigrants at the border, using tariffs to block trade with countries who are taking away American jobs, and confronting businesses who are allegedlly stealing American trade secrets.
This perspective suggests what India can expect for its relations with the US if it has to deal with Trump for a second term as president. The relations will stay functional at best. As I have said before, that’s because the words partnership, cooperation and collaboration are not in Trump’s vocabulary. Nationalism, isolationism and protectionism are.
Joe Biden stands in stark contrast to President Trump both professionally and personally. Biden is a strategic thinker and doer with a solid eight-year track record of leadership experience as Vice-President in forging alliances that have made a difference around the world and he has also been a long-standing friend of India.
He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading advocate for the Congressional passage of the Indo-US civic nuclear deal in 2005. At a dinner convened 10 years later in 2015 by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Vice President Biden discussed the tremendous joint progress that had been made by the two countries in the past and declared “We are on the cusp of a sea change decade.”
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Early in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in July of 2019, in laying out his foreign policy vision, Biden stated that the US had to reach out to India and other Asian partners to strengthen ties with them. The items on Biden’s foreign policy agenda for strengthening which are of importance for India include climate change, nuclear proliferation and cyberwarfare.
During his vice presidency, Biden worked side by side with President Barack Obama to do things that would contribute to achieving Obama’s vision stated in 2010 of India and America being “indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of our time.” In 2020, those challenges are even greater than they were a decade ago.
That is why it is so essential that India and the US develop a strategic relationship that enables them to become those indispensable partners. That can happen if Biden assumes the presidency on January 20, 2021. It cannot happen if Donald Trump remains as president for a second term.
The results of this upcoming election in the US matter greatly for the future of the United States. They matter greatly for the future of India-US relations as well. Time and the American electorate will tell what that future will be. (IANS)