“It’s Joe Biden”, vice president for two-term in Obama Administration and a Senate veteran, will be the 46th President of the United States of America. Though the results are yet to be formally announced and Donald Trump has decided to challenge it legally but it’s now clear “its Joe Biden”. Kamala Harris will be the first woman to hold the office of Vice President of the United States of America.
The obvious question is “How good or bad the duo will be for the Indo-US relationship?”
The relationship between India and the United States has seen a lot of ups and downs, from the first visit of India’s first prime minister on October 13, 1949, to the united states to “Namaste Trump”, one thing that remained common was “National Interest”.
This relationship has seen downs like economic sanctions after the Pokhran test to the US Seventh Fleet’s Task Force 74 during the 1971 Indo Pakistani war. Though in past 15 years India and the United States have addressed differences rapidly and today they are “Strategic Partners”.
Joe Biden & India:
The Indo-American relationship matured in an unprecedented way under Barak Obama Administration. Though the foundation was laid by Bill Clinton in March 2000, when India and Indo-US Science & Technology Forum was formed.
Joe Biden was Vice President in the Obama administration. His role in this “unprecedented” improvement was significant. In fact, many analysts believe, he was the chief architect in systematically deepening the strategic engagement of India and the united states. He played a vital role as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later as Vice President.
In fact, in 2006, three years before he became the Vice-President of the US, Biden announced his vision for the future of US-India relations: “My dream is that in 2020, the two closest nations in the world will be India and the United States,”.
Biden Vs Trump:
The chemistry between Prime Minister Modi and Donald Trump was great, though trump gave him multiple setbacks on the trade front, things did not change on the strategic front. This is the indication that personal chemistry is a mere extension of the state policy.
When world leaders queued up to congratulate the president-elect of United States of America Joe Biden, the prime minister of India tweeted a photograph of him with Joe Biden. This is another indication of why “Its mere extension of state policies”.
Here is a tweet of PM Modi for Kamala Harris
Role of Biden in Indo US nuclear Deal:
The signing of the Indo US nuclear deal was such a roller coaster ride on either side. The framework for this agreement was a July 18, 2005, joint statement by then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then U.S. President George W. Bush, under which India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and to place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and, in exchange, the United States agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India.
Though the architect of this deal was George W Bush, but Joe Biden had a significant role in this deal. Then Senator (President Later) Barak Obama was initially hesitant to support the Indo-US nuclear deal, Biden led the charge and worked with both Democrats and Republicans, to approve the nuclear deal in the US Congress in 2008.
In 2001 he wrote to then President of United States of America George Bush to end sanctions imposed after 1998 Nuclear-tests at Pokhran, saying they served to ‘stigmatize’ not ‘stabilize’ the situation.
The other significant steps during Barak Obama presidency were
- The US officially declared its support for India’s membership in a reformed and expanded United Nations Security Council.
- The Obama-Biden Administration also named India a “Major Defense Partner” (First country to be major Defense partner outside traditional alliance)
- Signing of Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), first of the foundational pacts.
Biden on Pakistan:
The naysayers say Joe Biden had received the Hilal-e-Pakistan award in 2008 and thus he will be pro-Pakistan. However, his campaign document says, “Biden believes there can be no tolerance for terrorism in South Asia – cross-border or otherwise”.
So, it’s really unclear how Biden will be for Pakistan, a lot depends on how he chooses his team.
Biden on China:
The growing aggressive posturing of China against the allies of the United States of America in the South China sea is a problem that is seen as a threat across the party lines, both Democrats and Republicans acknowledge that. Taming the ever-aggressive CCP is in the interest of the United States of America.
Even his campaign document says, “A Biden Administration will also work with India to support a rules-based and stable Indo-Pacific region in which no country, including China, is able to threaten its neighbors with impunity”.
Though Donald Trump officials and Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo had been attacking the Communist Party of China quite openly, the Biden administration’s language might be more mellow.
The Pamila Jaipal episode and Kamal Harris:
The Foreign Minister of India, S Jaishankar was to meet members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on the side-lines of the 2 + 2 Dialogues. During these meetings, Pamila Jaipal was to be part of the delegation, but he apparently told the chairman of the committee, Eliot Engel, that he will not meet the panel unless Jayapal is dropped off the panel.
Engel refused the request as a result of which, the scheduled meet was canceled at the last moment. This invited criticism across the party lines, even in India. However, the foreign policy of India under Narendra Modi has been more expressive. The India visit of Canadian Prime Minister “Justin Trudeau” was a premier example.
The Vice President Elect “Kamala Harris” supported Jaipal on the issue as a fellow democrat. Though democrats are liberals and they bat for the “Human Right” and equality etc. Thus, there is a chance that Biden Administration may get vocal on things like NRC and CAA. However, this episode was blown out of proportion by media, especially because of Kamala Harris’s Indian roots. Here is a tweet of Kamala from 2017
Though Article 370 is already revoked, CAA is already an Act and Kashmir is heading towards normalcy. However, india may have some friction on this with Biden but that brings lot of positive light on other avenues like Green cards, work permits, Visas and Trade.
Over the last 20 years, especially after 9/11 every US President —
- Bill Clinton – Democrat
- George W Bush – Republican
- Barack Obama – Democrat
- Donald Trump – Republican
had agreements and disagreements on many subjects, but if there was one common agenda. United states sees India as a pivot in south eastern Asia and thus a stronger relationship with India is in the strategic interest of United states of America.