America’s ties with India will go from strength to strength under Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, but the next US administration will continue to see China as a strategic rival, according to eminent experts and ex-diplomats.
“India’s rise does not cause concern in the US as China’s rise does. Besides, India is not in a race to become a superpower by 2049,” said former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal at a webinar on the future trajectory of India-US relations, organised by India Writes Network.
Shared interest between the US and India could curb China’s ambition, he added. The Joe Biden presidency holds greater advantage for India as Donald Trump’s approach towards India albeit positive was “unpredictable,” said Sibal at the webinar which coincided with the election of Biden as the next President of the US.
China and the Indo-Pacific figured prominently in the 90-minute online discussion that attracted an audience cutting across geographies.
Counter-balancing threats from China and dovetailing them with more robust ties with India will continue to be major foreign policy imperatives for the Biden administration, said Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director (Asia Program) at The Wilson Centre, an influential US think tank.
Kugelman, the author of several books, stressed that although many in the Republican Party claim that Biden would go soft on China, that’s not correct since there is already a strong bipartisan support that considers China as a major US challenge.
Meera Shankar, a former Ambassador of India to the US, highlighted how Biden’s America is more likely to adopt an “internationalist approach” compared to the “transactional approach” of Trump which would allow both countries to coordinate their approach to international issues of global concern.
“Biden will be more responsive to India’s core economic and strategic interests. The only way for India-US relations is to go up and up,” said Manish Chand, a foreign policy analyst, and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network.