Team Joe Biden: Great Expectations and 'Modi's India'

    25-Nov-2020   
Total Views |
 

a_1  H x W: 0 x 
 
 
New Delhi: If the Biden administration will also have 'no tolerance' for terrorism in South Asia, India has a clear advantage vis-a-vis its western neighbour Pakistan and its 'guide and patron' China.
 
It goes without saying that there has been "bipartisan consensus" in the White House and US State Department on retaining India as a "strategic partner".
 
Of course, things could change only if Joe Biden himself makes the first move and tries to embarrass New Delhi on issues such as 'Kashmir' and related human and religious rights issues. Of course, detractors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi always believed that President Donald Trump had given almost a freehand to the pro-Hindutva BJP-led dispensation.
 
Nevertheless, we ought to remember that former President Barack Obama, also a democrat like Biden, had greeted Indian Prime Minister at the White House in 2014 with the Gujarati salutation - "Kem Chho".
 
PM Modi returned the gesture with closer and affectionate address calling Obama by his first name "Barack" - in fact not many international leaders have done so !
 
Experts maintain that Biden has always remained a 'strong believer' of the argument that the US and India could be effective natural partners. As such, this school of thought says there is no government in the US that would afford to ignore New Delhi and the Modi-led dispensation.
 
Not long back Antony Blinken, now likely to be new US Secretary of State in August had said -- "In a Biden administration, we would be an advocate for India to play a leading role in international institutions that includes India getting a seat in the UNSC".
 
“I think you’d see Joe Biden as president investing in ourselves, renewing our democracy, working with our close partners like India, asserting our values and engaging China from a position of strength. India has to be a key partner in that effort,” Blinken said in response to a question in August this year from former US Ambassador to India Richard Verma.
 
Biden's probable top most diplomat also had said: “During the Obama administration, we worked very hard to establish India as a key contributing member of the Indo-Pacific strategy. That includes India’s role in working with like minded partners to strengthen and uphold a rules-based order in the Indo Pacific in which no country, including China can threaten its neighbours with impunity. That role needs to extend even beyond the region".
 
Between Modi and Biden, the President elect, the crucial and formal tele conversation last week has been warm.
 
Both the leaders also discussed their priorities, including containing the Covid-19 pandemic, promoting access to affordable vaccines, tackling climate change, and importantly the enhanced "cooperation" in the Indo-Pacific Region.
 
Of Course, the 'Indo-Pacific' reference brings in China element on the table. However, it remains to be seen - what really changes under Biden vis-a-vis the Washington's policy towards Beijing.
 
Joe Biden has set the ball rolling for setting up his new team. The task for new US Secretary of State under Joe Biden - probably Antony Blinken - will be to "repair" relationships with some close US allies across the globe, many of whom have "bristled" at President Donald Trump's confrontational style and his "America First" campaign. 
 
Those who welcome the possible move to make Blinken replace Mike Pompeo says the new man would be an "effective leader" especially for cleaning up the stables "after the worst president and secretary of state we have ever had".
 
Former career diplomat James Melville told CNN : "Tony was a terrific deputy secretary. He is brilliant and kind and would be a wonderful and very effective leader of what will have to be one of the most monumental tasks in diplomacy, cleaning up the stables after the worst president and secretary of state we have ever had".
 
Now it is apparent, possibly Biden would more actively seek areas of cooperation with a rising China, says one school of thought. Others, however, say Biden would continue President Trump's policy of countering China's "abusive" economic practices but may not tread a solitary path and jointly take allies along.
 
From the Indian context, nothing much would change as closer and enhanced Indo-US ties is more than just the flavour of the season.
 
Meanwhile, what happens on the 'Pakistan front' vis-a-vis the United States too would be of academic interest as Washington will have a somewhat nuanced and new policy towards Islamabad's trusted friend and 'guide' China!
 
"The umbilical cord that has kept US and Pakistan connected for the past two decades, for good or bad, is Afghanistan. Afghanistan was close to Biden’s heart when he was vice president," says a write up in Pakistani newspaper 'Dawn'.
 
The article penned by Ejaz Haider says by all accounts, Joe Biden took an active interest in developments in Afghanistan. As Bob Woodward reported in his book, 'Obama’s Wars', Biden was opposed to the surge. He tried to convince Obama that a major surge would mean “we’re locked into Vietnam.” He wanted a narrow, ‘counterterrorism-plus’ approach: contain the Taliban, neutralise Al Qaeda (AQ) and get the troops home.
 
Biden in the run up to the Presidentials elections has said: "We have a common challenge which is to deal with an increasingly assertive China across the board, including its aggression toward India at the Line of Actual Control, but also using its economic might to coerce others and to its advantage, ignoring international rules to advance its own interests....".
 
Among other issues, the incoming US regime is likely to walk in to the 'Paris Climate Accord' - something Trump had come out of.
 
'Fox News', a known pro-Trump media outlet says: "Here is Paris in nutshell: We put our (US) coal miners out of their jobs and cripple our $1 trillion oil and gas industry while China and India keep polluting and laugh at us (America) behind our back?