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Lt. General SA Hasnain, former commander of 15th Corps in Kashmir
I will start with what is said in the end, but it is so important that it is necessary to say in the beginning. This is about an Indian TV show I was watching when presidential election votes were counting in Arizona and Nevada.
Anchor asked the five famous members, whose position on the chair of the US President would give them peace, Trump or Biden? The five irresponsibly named Biden. In such a situation, if Biden wins, what will be the effect on India-US relations?
There is no doubt that Donald Trump has been a friend of India for four years. Yet his instability and non-traditional leadership style also kept India worried. Biden’s arrival would mean traditional American leadership in the White House. Being a super power, there should be a leadership at the top of America that not only gives priority to America, but also serves the interests of the world.
This is what the American President has been doing since 1945. Biden is expected to bring the same old value system back to the presidency, including democracy, stability, human rights, culture, religious freedom and inclusivity. There was a different kind of Americanism in Trump’s tenure.
President Trump undoubtedly took India’s diplomatic partnership to a new height. I consider the recent 2 + 2 dialogue in Delhi to be transformative, which was initiated 15 years ago from the Framework Agreement of 2005. The process of this relationship was initiated by Republicans and extended by Democrats.
It seems unlikely to change right now, especially given the growing threat from China. It was Obama’s theory that America should focus on the Indo-Pacific, which was called rebalancing. Trump carried this legacy forward and does not need any change.
Biden should not hesitate to understand the current threat of Ladakh and India. It is expected that Biden will also actively adopt the transformational relationship with India and will no doubt have to offer India modern weapons and weapons like armed drones. At the same time, India’s largest trade partner, the United States would like a good return to trade, with the least constraints so that both economies can grow.
Then India and Indians are skeptical about what? This is mainly Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan. Biden and Kamala Harris have been talking about Section 370 and the rights of Kashmiris. Biden himself commented on the CAA and NRC. Many believe that Biden favors India less on Kashmir. Two things have to be seen here. First, none of these things were said to be related to policy, they were just personal views.
The votes cast by the President or the Vice President before joining the post do not necessarily change in the policy, as experts, advisors and others can change their views after taking office. America has some constraints on Pakistan. Trump knew that Afghanistan policy could not work without Pak’s cooperation.
Biden’s sympathy for Pakistan sold to China is low. However, the humanitarian policy of saving the economy of Pakistan should not be seen as a policy of Pakistan support. However, nothing will change overnight. Some decisions related to institutional cooperation and leadership have to be made soon, which have been traditionally associated with America.
Re-joining the WHO, UNESCO, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Global Compact for Migration may be a priority list to bring the US back into a leadership role. There are other agreements that will be reviewed again. It also has the Iran Nuclear Agreement of July 2015. Negotiations will also have an impact on India’s interests related to the sanctions of Chabahar Port and the purchase of oil and gas from Iran.
On the social side, America’s immigration policies are expected to have better days. The support of Indian immigrants to Biden and Kamala Harris will make some difference. It is necessary that the so-called Samosa Caucus of MPs of Indian origin should be handled carefully so that their victory will only give positive dividends to India.
Increasing the H1B visa quota and green card grant percentage would mean fewer Indians return to the country, where the epidemic has been a struggle for jobs. Other areas of cooperation at present are the development and dissemination of the Kovid vaccine. This is a big opportunity for both the countries to cooperate in giving vaccines for the world. If Biden handles this area without undue prejudice to the ‘America First’ policy, it can lead to a more transformative India-US relationship.
(These are the author’s own views)