” US-India Relationship – ‘ A Basic Necessity of Political Engagement ‘ ” – January 19, 2021.
As America prepares for the inauguration of its 46th Predident, Joe Biden, both Washington and Delhi think-tanks will be immersed in thoughts about shaping up mutual understanding, support, and relationships.
Having overcome the many obstacles in their path of Presidential contest, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will set out on their journey to unite, heal, and promote America in a new beginning of a new Era from tomorrow. That Kamala Harris has her origins in India is a matter of pride to the Indians.
PM Narendra Modi has been able to strike a healthy relationship based on mutual respect, trust, and support with President Donald Trump. Whether the change in US leadership will witness a change in our engagement and relationship is keenly awaited.
Indian Americans feature prominently in Joe Biden’s nominations to his team even before the inauguration. About 20 Indians including 13 women will hold key positions in his administration. For an ethnic community representing just 1% of the population this is a remarkable feat.
Dr Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General ; Neera Tandon, Director of the WH office of Management and Budget ; Vanita Gupta , Associate Attorney General, Dept of Justice ; Uzra Zeya, Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights ; Mala Adiga, Policy Director to the future First Lady, Jill Biden ; Sabrina Singh, First Lady’s deputy Press Secretary ; Aisha Shah, Partnership Manager at White House Office of Digital Strategy ; Sameera Fazili, Deputy Director at the US National Economic Council ( NEC ) in White House ; Bharat Ramamurti, Deputy Director, WH, NEC ; Gautham Raghavan, Deputy Director in Office of Presidential Personnel ; Vinay Reddy, Director of Speech writing ; Vedant Patel, Asst press Secretary to President ; Sonia Agarwal, Senior Advisor for Climate Policy and Innovation in the Office of the Domestic Climate Policy at WH ; Vidu Sharma, Policy Advisor for testing for WH COVID-19 Response team ;
Tarun Chhabra, Sumona Guha, and Shanthi Kalathil are also becoming part of the National Security Counsel at WH.
Neha Gupta, Associate Counsel and Terms Shah as Deputy Associate Counsel to the Office of WH Counsel. Garia Verma, Digital Director of the Office of the First Lady.
The fact that Indian Americans ( about 20 in all at present ) are finding their places in Biden Administration and VP Kamala Harris has her origins in India will not alone stand testimony to the favourable future relationships between America and India. History of mutual relationships between the two nations do not record changes in Foreign Relationship with changes in US leadership. The nomination of Indians, nevertheless, can help hit a sweet spot between working relationship and expected changes.
It should also be recognised that most of these are descendents who ( second or even third generation ) have left India seeking greener pastures with progress and prosperity in America when they were either denied or when they failed to gain their deserved fruits. It will not be surprising if they hold a view that may be filled with general unhappiness ; disapproval of our culture ; disregard for our way of living ; and criticism of our actions.
Many, including Kamala Harris strongly criticised our Human Rights record and religious intolerance as being negligent, harmful, and threatening. House Representatives, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna have often been vocal against India in their Congressional discussions raising issues frequently on these aspects consistently. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Robert Menendez are leaders who have expressed views against India and its internal problems while President Donald Trump had always maintained a stand not to interfere with the internal affairs of India during his term.
To the credit of Biden Administration, however, it must be accepted that their knowledge of mutual relationships and internal problems are fairly deep.
Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and William Burns are officials who have been significantly familiar with India.
China’s relationship with America is anything but fair. As the ancient proverb goes, ” the enemy of my enemy is my friend “, our strength grows from our conflicts with China.
For anyone wishing to write a Political Enchiridion, the Relationship between America and India is one that is indispensable.
“Dieu avec nous”
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 – 10.39 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Our greatest policy problem is our decisions at home. Our greatest foreign policy need is national cohesion and a return to the awareness that in foreign policy we are all engaged in a common national endeavor ” – Henry Kussinger.