Over an agonisingly slow and tense week, Democratic candidate Joe Biden crossed the 270 mark and was declared the US’s new president. However even as he moves forward as the president-elect and hopes to launch his transition effort, especially with the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, President Donald Trump is weighing legal challenges and has so far refused to concede.
What should India expect from a Biden administration, on the economic and strategic fronts? In a conversation with Mitali Mukherjee, professor C. Raja Mohan, director of the Institute of South Asian Studies said India has enjoyed bipartisan support from both the Democrats and Republicans.
However, he feels that while norms of trade may be redrawn, it is unlikely a trade agreement will immediately be signed. From a trade point of view, India has always had a trade surplus with the US – we export more goods to the US than what we import from it. In 2019-20, India exported goods worth $53 billion to the US – that’s roughly 17% of all Indian exports that year
Biden had publicly stated that he would repeal Trump’s decision to suspend H-1B visas and that will be a relief for India’s tech sector (almost 75% of all H-1B visa holders in the US are from India).
The big focal point for the US and for India, individually, remains relations with China. While the US and India have signed three agreements for closer military cooperation, he said India has also made it clear the border conflict is a bilateral problem with China.
Neither will Biden try to muddy the waters in the Middle East to a great degree, said professor C. Raja Mohan – and with a thawing of relations with Iran, would be useful for India.
Biden and Harris have both spoken out against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act but Mohan emphasised that neither was the US an ‘international arbiter of human rights’ nor would that be a major point of contention.