During his Presidential campaign Joe Biden had made some insensitive comments on India’s internal issues, particularly related to Jammu and Kashmir. This led to apprehension in India that a Biden Presidency could sour India US relations.
However Dr Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor at Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, said that early signs suggest a continuation in the US policy regarding India, despite the Democrats coming to power.
Addressing a virtual Panel Discussion on ‘Joe Biden Administration,’ he said, ”Though during his run for the office Biden had expressed views regarding the Indo Pacific that were different from the Trump regime, during the phone call between our Defence Minister and External Affairs Minister with their counterparts in the US Indo Pacific strategy was reiterated.
”The use of the term ‘pre eminent partnerâ’ by Blinkin in his phone call to Dr Jaishankar also suggests that there is an element of continuity in US policy vis-a-vis India.
Prof Kondapalli said that the phone calls between high ranking officials of India and US is a good start and a stark departure from earlier times.
”When Trump was elected, we had small phase of communication problem. When Obama was elected, we had one-and-a-half years of communication gap. During Obama’s time, we also saw Brezenskys(Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski) idea of G2 coming up with US and China dominating across the board.
”Those words were also included in the joint statement between Obama and then Chinese Gen Secretary Hu Jintao. Compared to those previous experiences the early phone calls suggested that we have crossed the rubicon in India- US relations.”
Prof Kondapalli said that US China relations would likely to remain frosty given the current geo political environment.
“President Xi Jinping, speaking at Davos, alluded to the emergence of a new cold war between China and the US, he also mentioned about various threats that may emerge for globalization and other aspects.
The next level leader Yang Jiechi, spoke day before yesterday where he made drastic comments regarding the Trump administration saying that his policies had plunged the US- China relationship into its worst period ever and he warned his counterpart (US Sec of State Antony Blinken) not to go ahead with the Hong Kong related issues where we have seen 1000’s of people have been applying for visas to emigrate to UK, and the new security law had completely overhauled the HK related situation. The Chinese want to occupy the center stage something that was stated during the 19th CPC party Congress.”
Blinken on Monday said US, like the UK accept refugees fleeing Hong Kong amid the imposition of the new Chinese national security law that allegedly curtails several liberties of Hong Kong residents.
Prof Kondapalli felt that the serious differences between the US and China offers a host of opportunities for India and closer economic co operation between India and US would be helpful in meeting the challenge posed by China.