There is anxiety and uncertainty among Indian Americans following violence against the community in different parts of the country, but President Donald Trump is committed to building good relations with them, said Shalabh Shalli Kumar, founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC) and a mega donor to the President’s election campaign.
Mr. Kumar, who is reportedly a frontrunner for the post of U.S. Ambassador to New Delhi, refused to comment on his chances. “I have nothing to say on that,” he said.
“What I can say is that President Trump and Prime Minister Modi will take cooperation between India and the U.S. in the fight against terrorism to an unprecedented level,” he noted. When asked what could be the elements of such new cooperation, Mr. Kumar said the President believed in doing things discreetly. His twitter handle identifies him as the “bridge between Trump and Modi.”
“The President has reacted to the murder of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas at the right time, in an appropriate manner, and said there is no place for racism in America. That is reassuring for Hindu-Americans and Indian-Americans,” Mr. Kumar told The Hindu.
Meanwhile, a shop owned by an Indian-American was the target of an arson attempt in Port St. Lucie in Florida, in the latest incident of suspected hate-crime in America. Richard Lloyd, 64, tried to set the shop on fire and wanted to “run Arabs out of our country,” according to the local police. The shop was closed when the incident happened on Friday morning and the man surrendered when the police arrived.
A study by the South Asian American Leading Together (SAALT) linked more than 90% of the recent hate-crimes to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, but Mr. Kumar said such a correlation was baseless. “Donald Trump does not have an iota of racism in him. He and his advisors have great love and admiration for India and Hinduism,” Mr. Kumar noted.
He said the anxiety among the Indian-American community is the result of “biased media coverage and a left-wing campaign to target the President.” “There is greed also at work. Activists and lawyers are trying to make a business out of this,” Mr. Kumar pointed out.
Mr. Kumar said the President’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon would play an “important role” in the U.S. relations with India. Mr. Bannon is an avid of reader of the Bhagavad Gita and Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, according to Mr. Kumar who keeps in regular touch with him. “He really appreciates what is happening in India under Mr. Modi’s leadership. He understands Hinduism as a tolerant religion and Hindus as peaceful people. He is also committed to reversing the decline of the U.S.”
According to Mr. Kumar, Indian community has no reason to be concerned at all under Trump presidency and all reports about restricting H-1B visas are unfounded or exaggerated. “There will be all types of bills and debates. But the fact is that the U.S. economy will grow rapidly under President Trump and this will require large number of IT professionals. Indians are going to benefit from this new wave of American economic growth,” he said.