Biden will continue strengthening India-US relationship: Experts

A Biden administration will be mostly positive for India

Washington: President-elect Joe Biden will continue strengthening India-US relationship, think-tanks and prominent Indian-American experts have said.

“A Biden administration will be mostly positive for India,” said Rick Rossow from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

“I expect most positive areas of cooperation — notably defence — to be maintained,” he said.

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Rossow said there are two key issues that could really define the US-India ties.

“First, how will the Biden administration handle potential sanctions on India over Russian defence purchases? And second, if the US is louder in raising concerns about social issues in India, will it create a wedge?” Rossow said.

He also opined that under Biden administration, India will face less pressure over ties with Iran and renewable energy cooperation will be highlighted. However, he said, that trade tensions between the countries will persist.

According to Ashley J Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, “Without a doubt, Joe Biden will continue strengthening the US-India relationship.”

“He will have his hands full…overcoming problems at home and restoring American leadership abroad. Everything else comes second, Tellis told PTI.

North Carolina-based Swadesh Chatterjee, who is an old friend of the President-elect, said Biden really wants India to be the greatest friend of the United States its best ally in the 21st century.

That’s what he believes in, he told PTI.

Underlining that India-US relationship does not depend on individuals anymore, Chatterjee said it is deep and will get better.

Biden, he said, has always India supported the cause of India-US relationship. But for the role played by Biden, then as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the historic civil nuclear deal would never have been passed by the US Congress, Chatterjee said.

At a time when it was a Republican administration, Biden as a Democrat played a key role in its Congressional passage, because he strongly believes in India-US relationship, he said.

The India-US nuclear deal was initiated in 2005, after nearly 30 years of US-imposed sanctions since India tested its first nuclear weapon in 1974. The landmark agreement, signed during the Bush administration, saw an implicit recognition for the first time of India as a nuclear weapons power.

Under the deal, 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 US agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India.

According to Ajay Jain Bhutoria, a Biden supporter, the President-elect will bring US and India more closer.

Biden understands the issues impacting India — cross border terrorism, issues related to Indo Pacific region with China — and supports the rise of India, he said.

“India-US relationship thrived under Obama administration and it will thrive again under a Biden-Harris administration,” Bhutoria said.

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