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Opinion

The showdown in the United States presidential election is good news for India

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Earlier this month, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden’s opponent for being the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States, announced that he would suspend his campaign. This means that Biden will be the Democratic presidential candidate. Since then, Biden has been supported by former President Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren, herself a former presidential candidate.

This is all good news for Biden. This is also good news for India. That is the case because if Biden won the presidency, the future of relations between India and the United States would be on firm ground. If Sanders had stayed in the race, managed to win the nomination, and had won the presidency, those relationships would have been shaky.

Sanders does not have a strong history of supporting India or substantial foreign policy experience as a senator. More importantly, during his campaign, he criticized some key political measures of the Narendra Modi administration.

By contrast, former Vice President (V-P) Biden is an old friend of India with a stellar track record in the field of foreign policy. And, to date, it has made no major negative public pronouncements on the Indian government. Biden is best known for the way he served for eight years as President Barack Obama’s “aide-de-camp”, acting as his primary person and a key consultant on numerous matters, both domestic and foreign. He distinguished himself as someone who could facilitate communications, build commitments, and build consensus among those with different interests.

As part of his portfolio, Biden worked diligently to advance and advance Obama’s vision of a “defining partnership” between India and the United States. He and his wife Jill visited India in 2013 when the VP, according to the White House, “… established an ambitious vision for the relationship between the United States and India, looking not only at the months ahead or the years, but the decades to come. ” Biden had India on his radar screen and his best interests in mind before joining Barack Obama in 2009. When he was a senator and chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden called for the successful passage of the Indo-Civilian nuclear deal. American .

Sanders voted against that bill in 2008. More recently, in 2020, Sanders spoke out against India’s Kashmir policy, his enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the country’s treatment of its minority. Muslim. Congressman Ro Khanna, an American Indian, was co-chair of the Sanders presidential campaign. He has also been critical of India’s human rights policies and has joined the Pakistan Congress Caucus. This is further evidence that Sanders in the White House would have been problematic for India’s relations with the United States.

This brings the presidential confrontation for the elections to be held on November 3 between Biden and Donald Trump, who is running for reelection basically unopposed in the Republican Party. That confrontation is good news for India.

In Biden and Trump, whoever occupies the Oval Office on January 20, 2021, India will face two known leaders. Trump, even with his mercurial and unpredictable behavior, currently appears to be New Delhi’s preferred candidate, symbolized by the “Howdy Modi” show in Houston in September and the “Namaste Trump” show in Ahmedabad in February.

But there must be caution regarding the future of bilateral relations with the United States with Trump as president in the future. While Trump can be counted on to remain silent on “internal affairs” in India, like Kashmir, he cannot be trusted to speak authentically or to keep his word on important issues such as reaching a trade deal.

Biden, on the other hand, could say things about India’s handling of issues central to a vital and vibrant democracy like immigration, equal opportunity, pluralism and the free press, but he will do so diplomatically. One variable that will come into play for India will be the state of the coronavirus pandemic when the elections are held. It is too early to speculate on the nature of that condition now.

What can be said at the moment is that Trump has downplayed the role of the federal government in confronting the pandemic in the United States, stating that it is up to state and local governments to take the initiative. Biden as president would put much more emphasis on federal leadership.

Another difference that will affect India is that the Trump administration’s approach to managing the pandemic is and will be isolationist, as evidenced by closing the U.S. borders to other countries from the start and not taking outside assistance in areas such as testing when the pandemic first hit the United States. Biden, as president, will be an internationalist who seeks to unite countries to face the consequences of the coronavirus and take advantage of resources to benefit all nations.

Indians will not be able to vote for the next President of the United States. But the American Indians will. Those distinctive differences in style and behavior must be taken into account when casting their vote. I know I will, and that’s why I’m glad Biden is the Democratic presidential candidate. That is good for both my homeland, India and my homeland, the United States.

Frank F Islam is an entrepreneur, civic leader, and thought leader based in Washington DC.

The opinions expressed are personal.

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