Under the Biden presidency, the US will rejoin the Paris Agreement — which took effect on November 4, the day after the elections — and a series of other international accords and treaties, and rebuild the bridge with its NATO partners. India will benefit from the US once again taking an active role internationally.(REUTERS)
Under the Biden presidency, the US will rejoin the Paris Agreement — which took effect on November 4, the day after the elections — and a series of other international accords and treaties, and rebuild the bridge with its NATO partners. India will benefit from the US once again taking an active role internationally.(REUTERS)

Joe Biden’s win is good for India-US ties, writes Frank F Islam

2020 was a long and contentious year politically which ended with a win for Biden, America, and India. That is good news. The better news is that the best is yet to come.
By Frank F Islam
UPDATED ON NOV 23, 2020 06:56 PM IST

Nearly three weeks after the historic presidential election, United States (US) President Donald Trump is yet to concede, clinging on to hope that he can somehow miraculously hold on to power despite losing by a huge margin. However, with even his Republican allies at state and local levels refusing to help him, there is no chance that Trump will succeed in his attempt to overturn the will of the people.

But, unfortunately, Trump’s unfounded accusations of election fraud and his refusal to concede have no doubt sullied the spirit of the American democracy, which has always prided itself on smooth and orderly transition of power. The outgoing president is also dragging down the Republican Party, whose leaders largely have stood by him.

The president has suffered defeats in a string of court cases — many of which were absurd and farcical — and even many GOP election officials in states and at local jurisdictions have refused angry demands via Twitter to nullify the election results. What these legal and political defeats prove is that the world’s oldest democracy is going to pass the most intense stress test it was subjected to thus far with flying colours.

A big example is that, despite the incumbent’s stonewalling, President-elect Joe Biden is at work, putting together teams and personnel that will form the core of his administration and crafting policies to tackle Covid-19 and revive the economy, two of his biggest election promises. The US business community and a number of world leaders have recognised Biden as the rightful winner. Among the global leaders who congratulated the president-elect was Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The presidential election has implications for India, due to its status as the world’s largest democracy, strategic imperatives and the special involvement of the Indian-American community electorally in the US this time around.

New Delhi was anxious about the election, especially after it provided platforms for Trump to deliver campaign speeches on two occasions in the past 15 months. Despite the presence of Kamala Harris, who is of Indian and African-American origin, on the Biden ticket, some in India were rooting for the president’s re-election because he did not oppose the government’s actions in Kashmir and the enactment of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

There is no question that human rights would go back to being one of the centerpieces of the US foreign policy under the Biden administration. For this reason, some in in India are apprehensive about a Biden White House “meddling” in India’s “internal affairs.”

There is a consensus among objective observers in Washington, however, that no single issue will derail the bilateral ties between India and the US. In fact, ties will only strengthen. And this is because, under the Trump administration, India-US relations had become primarily transactional. While defence ties between the two countries continued on the trajectory of the Bush and Obama administrations, commercial ties took a step backward. Trump quarrelled with India publicly on a number of small trade issues that could have been better addressed privately through constructive negotiations among foreign policy experts. His foreign policy was largely been based on his whims and fancies. He routinely ignored the Department of State. Under the Biden administration, bilateral relations with India will go back to being institutionally-centered and subject-matter expert-driven.

Under the Biden presidency, the US will rejoin the Paris Agreement — which took effect on November 4, the day after the elections — and a series of other international accords and treaties, and rebuild the bridge with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners. India will benefit from the US once again taking an active role internationally.

Another aspect of this presidential elections that triggered a lot of interest in India was the significance and involvement of the Indian-American community. As has been widely reported, the community was openly courted by both parties. In terms of mobilisation and campaign donations, and now with Kamala Harris set to be sworn in as the first woman, African-American and Indian-American vice-president of the US on January 20, this election has been unprecedented in more ways than one.

Judging by the number of Indian-Americans Biden has included in various cabinet transition committees, one can expect a significant Indian-American presence in the administration. There are close to two-dozen Indian-Americans in the 500-member transition agency review teams. Three teams are led by Indian-Americans. Biden’s Covid-19 task force includes three Indian-Americans, including Vivek Murthy, who is a co-chair. Murthy, a former surgeon general of the US, is reportedly a candidate for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Service. Other Indian-American names touted for top jobs include Stanford professor Arun Majumdar for the secretary of energy and former PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi for the secretary of commerce.

2020 was a long and contentious year politically which ended with a win for Biden, the US, and India. That is good news. The better news is that the best is yet to come.

Frank F. Islam is an entrepreneur, civic leader and thought leader based in Washington DC
The views expressed here are personal
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
How do we address this cyclical pattern of hailing and rubbishing financiers? It is time for an honest review of the entire issue (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
How do we address this cyclical pattern of hailing and rubbishing financiers? It is time for an honest review of the entire issue (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The policy landscape around digital and physical micro-lending

By Amol Agrawal
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:08 AM IST
In 1870s, a similar backlash emerged in Poona and Ahmednagar districts of the Bombay presidency. The agriculture boom in the early 1860s led farmers to take loans from moneylenders
Close
A tiny tax on stock market transactions can help fund India’s vaccination drive without burning a hole in the wallets of stock market investors and give the government headroom for other expenditure to help save lives (AFP)
A tiny tax on stock market transactions can help fund India’s vaccination drive without burning a hole in the wallets of stock market investors and give the government headroom for other expenditure to help save lives (AFP)

Vaccinating all Indians, for free

By Praveen Chakravarty
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:08 AM IST
The markets are at an all-time high. Impose a Covid-19 surcharge on transactions and use it for vaccination
Close
Why is it that, despite the government displaying its willingness to take a step back, the matter was not resolved? (PTI)
Why is it that, despite the government displaying its willingness to take a step back, the matter was not resolved? (PTI)

Farm protests: The costs of a prolonged standoff

By Shashi Shekhar
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:08 AM IST
The government has extended an olive branch. The farmers must respect this and reciprocate. The tone set on Saturday should pave the way for a permanent solution.
Close
Pushing against the climate crisis — in spite of the terrible fire and hurricane damage — was his way of putting the economy before all else. This is what Biden-Harris will have to overcome with smart policies and even smarter communication. (AFP)
Pushing against the climate crisis — in spite of the terrible fire and hurricane damage — was his way of putting the economy before all else. This is what Biden-Harris will have to overcome with smart policies and even smarter communication. (AFP)

On climate, what the US needs to do

By Sunita Narain
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:25 AM IST
Joe Biden has done well to rejoin the Paris accord. But his administration will have to overcome Trumpism, take responsibility for historic emissions, and change energy consumption patterns at home
Close
The JPC, hence, has a daunting task ahead, balancing the needs of State security against individual privacy. Giving entry to security agencies will compromise the encryption grid and data of millions. The State has to collaborate with tech giants in using the meta-data more meaningfully and for meeting other requirements without breaking the encryption. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The JPC, hence, has a daunting task ahead, balancing the needs of State security against individual privacy. Giving entry to security agencies will compromise the encryption grid and data of millions. The State has to collaborate with tech giants in using the meta-data more meaningfully and for meeting other requirements without breaking the encryption. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Data bill: The security vs privacy debate

By Yashovardhan Azad
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:26 AM IST
The Data Protection Bill also does not touch upon State surveillance methods. Who watches over the watchers? How can an officer of the same rank give permission to another for snooping? And how can another in the same system oversee its justification?
Close
The massive sacrifice of hundreds of Secret Service officers of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army remains a secret and an enigma. On the 125th anniversary of Netaji’s birth, I appeal to the nation to document and recognise these sacrifices (HT PHOTO)
The massive sacrifice of hundreds of Secret Service officers of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army remains a secret and an enigma. On the 125th anniversary of Netaji’s birth, I appeal to the nation to document and recognise these sacrifices (HT PHOTO)

The secrets of Netaji’s secret service

By Amit Mitra
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:49 PM IST
The Indian National Army’s Secret Service men remain unrecognised, despite their sacrifices during the freedom struggle. We must revere them
Close
Prime Minister Imran Khan has contended that Pakistan's economy has made a remarkable turnaround.(Facebook/ImranKhanOfficial)
Prime Minister Imran Khan has contended that Pakistan's economy has made a remarkable turnaround.(Facebook/ImranKhanOfficial)

Imran Khan jumped the gun. This time, over Pakistan’s economic turnaround

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:51 PM IST
  • Pakistan's GDP growth had slowed down much before the coronavirus outbreak, growing by 1.9% in 2019 as compared to a decade-high of 5.8% the previous year when Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf came to power.
Close
While social media has the ability to democratise politics, it can also silence voices. This is troubling (AFP)
While social media has the ability to democratise politics, it can also silence voices. This is troubling (AFP)

The democratic dilemma posed by social media

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:20 AM IST
The banning of Trump and others from Twitter and Facebook, and the shutdown of Parler made clear that the power to silence voices, whether of the one or of millions, lies with just three men on the planet – Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon. No wonder defending democracy will be a huge and unenviable task for President Biden’s team.
Close
The Supreme Court, in 2019, acknowledged that internet access is integral to the right to freedom of speech and expression while adding that any restriction on internet access must pass the test of proportionality, and suggested the evolution of a rules-based mechanism to govern the internet. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Supreme Court, in 2019, acknowledged that internet access is integral to the right to freedom of speech and expression while adding that any restriction on internet access must pass the test of proportionality, and suggested the evolution of a rules-based mechanism to govern the internet. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Putting the consumer at the centre of Digital India

By Lloyd Mathias
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:21 AM IST
One way to empower consumers is by creating mechanisms to ensure inter-operability, by making it easier to switch services from one platform to another. In telecom, interoperability is implemented. However, in the internet space, and more prominently in the app space, consumers do not have this choice.
Close
Project finance economies have different imperatives from working capital economies. They need investment to fill the gaps in their infrastructure and lack the resources to do so (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
Project finance economies have different imperatives from working capital economies. They need investment to fill the gaps in their infrastructure and lack the resources to do so (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)

The working of a ‘project finance economy’

By Janmejaya Sinha
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:19 AM IST
It is time to question neo-classical economic precepts on deficit and inflation for an economy of India’s nature
Close
Their success highlights the depth and strength of talent in the country (PTI)
Their success highlights the depth and strength of talent in the country (PTI)

Courage, calibre, character: India’s greatest series win

By Ayaz Memon
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 08:07 PM IST
The experienced pros and newcomers combined to prove a point to themselves, the opponents and the world. And created history
Close
The Centre ensured the supply of drugs with equitable and integrated access (REUTERS)
The Centre ensured the supply of drugs with equitable and integrated access (REUTERS)

Managing drug security effectively in times of a pandemic

By Sudhansh Pant
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 09:19 PM IST
The Centre’s strategy to ensure sufficient access, monitor stocks and distribution, issue approvals, maintain seamless supply chain of drugs, effectively communicate with stakeholders, and evolve a dynamic Clinical Management Protocol (CMP) has contributed significantly to India’s Covid-19 management success
Close
A new report by Chatham House describes India as UK’s ‘rival’ or ‘at best, an awkward counterpart’ on par with Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It also weighs in against the idea of expanding G7 to include India (Getty Images)
A new report by Chatham House describes India as UK’s ‘rival’ or ‘at best, an awkward counterpart’ on par with Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It also weighs in against the idea of expanding G7 to include India (Getty Images)

Is ‘Global Britain’ inimical to India?

By Syed Akbaruddin
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 09:10 PM IST
There are disturbing signals from both segments of British polity and civil society. India will need to assess the UK’s position carefully
Close
Pakistan's opposition parties had united last year under the aegis of Pakistan Democratic Movement to launch coordinated attacks on Prime Minister Imran Khan(AFP)
Pakistan's opposition parties had united last year under the aegis of Pakistan Democratic Movement to launch coordinated attacks on Prime Minister Imran Khan(AFP)

Imran Khan gets squeezed between shrinking economy and proactive opposition

UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 05:48 PM IST
  • Differences between China and Pakistan over funding of CPEC's biggest railway project spotlights the growing pressures on PM Imran Khan on the economy front
Close
There is evidence to indicate that the PLA's work and engineering force deployed to upgrade infrastructure in occupied Aksai Chin moved back after completion of work last month
There is evidence to indicate that the PLA's work and engineering force deployed to upgrade infrastructure in occupied Aksai Chin moved back after completion of work last month

India should be wary of Chinese mind games

UPDATED ON JAN 13, 2021 12:31 PM IST
  • Withdrawal from the vast Tibetan and Xinjiang military region means little in an era of stand-off weapons and long-range missiles. The Chinese PLA has capacity to deploy troop divisions within a week with metalled roads and optical fibre cables up to the last military post and advanced landing grounds (ALGs) all along the LAC.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP