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New US premier rekindles India's American dreams

Joe Biden
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Joe Biden

Highlights

Joe Biden has not only a huge team of Indian Americans but his swearing in also had an element of Indian politics

Joe Biden has not only a huge team of Indian Americans but his swearing in also had an element of Indian politics. Just as in India, no outgoing Chief Minister or Prime Minister likes to participate in the swearing in ceremony of his successor, Donald Trump who continues to stew about his loss stayed away from the swearing in ceremony of his successor.

Traditionally, for over a century the outgoing President in the US makes himself present at the inauguration ceremony of the incoming President and hands over charge. The first lady would escort her successor and introduce her to the White House. However, Trump has decided to break this tradition. Just before boarding the chopper for Florida, Trump of course did wish the new administration good luck and said he had laid strong foundation and now it was for them to take it forward. He also assured his supporters that he would be back in some form.

Maybe he was hinting at floating some political party. Who knows? Biden will perhaps go down in the history as the only American President so far who had to deal with a more challenging environment. His decisions and actions will have to be measured ones as the US is still the most influential country and the acts of Biden and his team will have an impact on the rest of the world. From the way he constituted his team, it appears that there would be no let-up in Washington's stand on China and its trade policies. His predecessor had adopted an aggressive trade war against China. While Biden signed executive orders on a broad range of issues, from climate change to coronavirus, India is ready with a long wish list. India wants that the curbs that were imposed during the Trump era be withdrawn and the trade benefits worth six billion dollars be restored.

As Biden's pick of his team indicated towards a favourable economic and foreign policy towards India, the Indian government hopes that the US would adopt a tough stance against Pakistan backed terrorism. Interestingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only congratulated Biden but also sent a photograph which was clicked seven years ago when Biden attended a lunch hosted in honour of the Indian Prime Minister in Washington DC. Biden then had talked about the promise of a strong India-US relationship. Since he is now in the driver's seat, India hopes that he will accomplish his vision. During his election campaign, Biden had raised the issue of visas and promised to lift all Trump era restrictions.

There are about eight lakh Indians waiting for green card. If Biden makes changes to the visa rules, it would help the US in expanding the number of high skilled visas and eliminate country specific visas. But when it comes to the issue of trade benefits, the US may not act as expected by India at least in the immediate future. Biden has not yet made his stand clear on this issue and apparently has a reason for it. The US is facing serious economic challenges. The corona pandemic has left over 25 million unemployed. Many had to face cut in salaries.

Any trade related relations with India would naturally be hardnosed one. However, Biden's entry into the White House should be welcomed since he had sent positive signals towards India right from his campaign days to the time he was sworn in as the 46th US President.

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