Biden Administration & India: The Complication, The Situation & The Future

Biden Administration
Image Courtesy: Bloomberg

The relations between India and the United States of America have been nothing but complicated in the last few years. From the Trump administration to Biden, things have changed drastically. Given the current worldwide pandemic, it evolved further. However, to know what the future holds and how the relationship between India and the United States will unfold, we must start from the beginning.

PM Narendra Modi appealed to Indian Americans to vote for a ‘Trump Sarkar’ and welcomed Trump to a packed Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad. He openly campaigned for him as well. There’s a possibility that PM Modi recognized Trump’s photo-op needs, read his approach, and moved in early to be successful in having Trump like him. The Trump administration in return not only pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord but also did not appear to intervene in critical events around India, often citing them as domestic matters of a country. Things were good for quite a while!

Then, January 20, 2021, happened and finally, the Biden Administration was able to dethrone the Trump government with a historical win. The entire world was celebrating and to be honest, the Indian citizens were happy as well. But what did it mean for India exactly? Especially PM Shri Narendra Modi? Last summer, the Center for Strategic and International Studies conducted a survey of the leaders from 16 U.S. allies in Europe and Asia. India and Vietnam were the only countries that preferred Trump over Biden who would deal the best with China. Now, Joe Biden is not the type of person to forget that.

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The Complicated Approach of The Biden Administration

During a pandemic, time works quite differently. In 2020, battles against the COVID-19 virus were won or lost within a span of weeks or even days. Those who acted the quickest did the best. The Biden Administration knew this all too well as the catastrophic consequences were very evident from the beginning. So, what he did? Biden prioritized the Americans over the rest of the world. However, it wasn’t a compromise that should be criticized but where it went wrong was the failure to adapt the plan ahead of given the changing circumstances.

Now we see the deep engagement of The White House with the Indian crisis and most probably, it will go on for quite some time. President Joe Biden asked his administration to provide all assistance to India and promised that the United States would stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

USAID assistance materials including oxygen cylinders, N95 masks, PEE kits, and filters along with 10 million AstraZeneca doses have arrived in India. Another 50 million is scheduled to be here by June. Not to mention the unprecedented financial assistance of USD half a billion which came immediately after PM Modi had a conversation over the phone with Joe Biden at the end of April.

Perspective Point Of View

From a common Indian perspective, Biden is doing a remarkable job. He made the US Senate’s approval possible for the Indo-US nuclear deal and several anti-terrorism legislations. He has actively supported the removal of US sanctions on India while also advocating for India to have a ‘seat at the high table’ on the global arena. However, for an insightful observer (Indian), there’s a slight twist in the storytelling.

The White House belatedly yet completely understands what they have done. They know that even if it’s forgiven which seems like the case right now, but it won’t be forgotten. Hence, the Biden administration is doing everything in its power to make things right. Now, let’s have a look at the work on Biden’s hand to grasp the situation better.

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Biden Administration & The Future With India

It’s not only India for Joe Biden. His administration has numerous diplomatic bridges to mend, international alliances to repair, and egos of the foreign countries to dispute. To be very honest, Biden basically supported India as a counterweight to China despite PM Modi’s personal preferences and international reputation given the current circumstances. However, this also poses a great opportunity for both the nations as a closer strategic partnership is now within the grasp. All that the Biden administration needs to do is pave a path following the vast expanse between traditional strategic altruism.

Biden has to ensure that the convergence on China does not go to waste. Also, it’s a great thing for India to have the US as an ally as well since the tension along the borders is high with China. The health and energy partnership will be one of the prime focuses for both nations. The administration is expected to revive this partnership that will help in combating common challenges.

Another thing that must be considered by the White House is the trading sector. Under the Modi government, India has grown more inward-looking. See, America was built on the foundation of economic and political openness. In order to make things right, and keep them going, the United States must return to its older form, and Biden will be the man to do it. It is the best way to deal with this strategically critical relationship between these two nations.

The Verdict

India is currently focused on maintaining its diplomatic autonomy while trading under the ‘non-aligned’ canopy. However, with Biden taking control of the White House, our nation can expect to reach out to a more open-minded and globally-oriented power like the United States to resolve issues with Pakistan and China. Although, it’s absurd to expect that the US would always be sharing a common interest with India. But that doesn’t mean the Biden administration will be oblivious towards India’s domestic affairs.

Donald Trump had no ideological dilemmas. White supremacism found a natural ally in Hindu supremacism. Trump was completely silent on the aspects of minorities, Kashmir, and diversity. Biden cannot afford such silence. However, the foundation of the Biden administration is civil liberty and currently, the Modi government is in a democratic decline. If this issue is not resolved soon, the future of the US-India relationship is going to be a whole lot complicated. They can neither part ways, thanks to China, nor they will be able to get along!

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable” – John F. Kennedy