Joe Biden Photograph:( AFP )
New Delhi has a long wish-list for the Biden administration. India would like its trade benefits worth six billion dollars restored, and it also wants the Trump era curbs on visas to be lifted. New Delhi would like a strong stance against Pakistan-backed terror groups, and a deeper alliance to combat China
Starting January 20, Joe Biden will take the oath as the US President - a transition India is eagerly waiting for.
New Delhi has a long wish-list for the Biden administration. India would like its trade benefits worth six billion dollars restored, and it also wants the Trump era curbs on visas to be lifted. New Delhi would like a strong stance against Pakistan-backed terror groups, and a deeper alliance to combat China.
India isn’t looking forward to a hasty American withdrawal from Afghanistan. New Delhi would also like to see some movement on two big ticket items - The reform of the United Nations Security Council and India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Where does Joe Biden stand on these issues?
When it became clear that Joe Biden will be America's next president, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated him with a photograph which was clicked seven years ago - when Biden attended a lunch - hosted in honour of the Indian prime minister in Washington DC. On that day, Joe Biden had talked about the promise of a strong India-US relationship.
Now, as president of the US, he gets to accomplish his vision. When the two leaders meet again they'll have a lot to discuss. And New Delhi should feel confident about its future engagements with Washington.
As a candidate, Joe Biden made all the right noises, like on the issue of visas, and Biden has already promised to lift all trump era restrictions.
The biggest challenge is the backlog, with over eight lakh Indians waiting for a green card. And it is believed more than two lakh will die waiting for one. Biden plans to revamp the visa rules. He wants to expand the number of high skilled visas and eliminate country specific quotas.
Biden's campaign website also assured an instant green card to students to get their doctorate in America in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.
What about trade?
India's relationship with America took a hit on the trade front when Trump decided to withdraw benefits worth six billion dollars under the generalized system of preferences. Both sides negotiated for a "mini trade deal" but they didn't sign an agreement.
Biden hasn't made his position clear on tariffs, and the incoming president faces his own share of economic challenges. The pandemic has left more than 25 million workers in America either unemployed, or, with lower salaries. Biden has promised to stand by American firms. Any trade negotiation with India will be a hard-nosed one.
India and the US have bigger concerns besides trade - Like the growing Chinese aggression. China will be the driving force behind this relationship, and Biden is expected to remain tough on Beijing.
He had refereed to the Chinese president as a thug while campaigning and promised to rope in allies to push back against China on its human rights record and authoritarianism.
Biden has also promised to remain tough on the issue of terrorism. He believes there can be no tolerance for terrorism in South Asia - cross border or otherwise. So far, team Biden has sent the right signals to India. Biden himself has called the India-US partnership a defining relationship for the 21st century.