Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America in a fortnight, and scholars and practitioners seem to be divided on how his presidency would impact India and its foreign policy conduct.
India-US relations have been accelerating since the late 1990s, primary reasons being similar democratic values and concerns about China and terrorism. This relationship expanded during the tenures of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, when India and the US deepened their Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) partnerships, 2+2 dialogues and also signed COMCASA, LEMOA and BECA agreements, serving security interests of both the countries.
However, sceptics have doubted the same momentum of positive India-US ties under Biden, citing ideological differences. While the Trump government had no strong opinion on India’s internal politics, it is highly unlikely if Democrats will follow suit; and critiques have stressed on how key Democrats such as Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Robert Menendez have already commented on India’s internal politics.
But scholars such as C. Rajamohan and Kanti Bajpai have asserted that the claims of the sceptics are a bit exaggerated. It is in the US’s interests to limit China’s growing influence in the international system, especially in the Indo-Pacific region and India will be a key partner to this grand strategy. Thus, the US will support India militarily and economically and would be hesitant to comment on India’s internal affairs and dispositions.
It is also believed that Biden’s familiarity with India and his positive role in the civil nuclear deal will accelerate these positive ties.