BIDEN-HARRIS … Prez-elect Joe Biden hails India in re-tweet; bats for global peace, better Indo-US ties


WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI: US President-elect Joe Biden, expressing his resolve to strengthen the ties between his country and India, says he believes India-US partnership is the defining relationship of the 21st Century. Biden, a former vice president of the US, has been an advocate of a stronger India-US relationship, and favoured more of bilateral trade. Biden, while re-tweeting an Op-ed article he wrote in the past, noted that if the US and India got closer, the world would be a “safer place”.

A Biden-Harris presidency will build further on the good ties that the Obama administrations built with India,” (with Biden as vice president), the president-to-be noted.

“The US and India will stand together against terrorism in all its forms and work together to promote a region of peace and stability where neither China nor any other country threatens its neighbours,” Biden’s re-tweet stated.

Notably, when the former vice president travelled to India in July 2013, he set a goal of taking the bilateral trade to $500 billion, which as of now is little over $150 billion, a PTI report noted.

While an official declaration of the US presidential poll results was awaited, Biden’s win in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania this time put him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes.

Notably, Biden had expressed his views on India-US relationship in multiple ways and platform during his election campaign as well. He took a strong objection to a remark made by President Donald Trump during the final presidential debate in which he described the air in India as “filthy” in terms of poor air quality as in China.

 “Kamala Harris and I deeply value our partnership and will put respect back at the centre of our foreign policy,” Biden said Saturday as he retweeted his op-ed in the latest issue of ethnic India West weekly.

“We’ll continue to value the US-India relationship. For Donald Trump, it’s photo-ops. For me, it’s getting things done,” Biden said in his op-ed, in which he reflected on his track record of India-US ties.

“Fifteen years ago, I was leading the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Republican Dick Lugar to approve the historic Civil Nuclear Deal between our nations and advance our technology sharing and defence cooperation. At the time, I said if the United States and India became closer friends, then the world will be a safer place,” he wrote.

Biden said seven years ago, as vice president, he told business leaders in Mumbai that the US-India partnership was the defining relationship of the 21st Century. “The Obama-Biden years were some of the best we’ve ever had between our two countries. A Biden-Harris Administration will build on that great progress and do even more. We can and should be natural allies,” he wrote.

“That’s why if elected President, I will continue what I have long called for: The US and India will stand together against terrorism in all its forms and work together to promote a region of peace and stability where neither China nor any other country threatens its neighbours. We’ll open markets and grow the middle class in both the United States and India, and confront other international challenges together, like climate change, global health, transnational terrorism and nuclear proliferation,” Biden said.

“We will meet every challenge together as we strengthen both democracies—fair and free elections, equality under the law, freedom of expression and religion, and the boundless strength both nations’ draw from our diversity. These core principles have endured throughout each nations’ histories and will continue to be the source of our strength in the future,” Biden said.

Biden had promised during his election campaign that he will reform the H-1B visa system by removing the restrictions on employment-based green cards for Indians.  Trump had blocked Indian immigration to the US, though perceptions were that he was a friend of India. PM Modi used to interact closely with Trump, and there were occasions when Trump praised India and Modi. Modi had specially invited Trump for an India visit which he did in the beginning of this year, starting with a big public show in Modi’s native state of Gujarat, and then proceeding to official engagements in New Delhi.

PM GREETS BIDEN, KAMALAPrime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Joe Biden on Sunday, after he ensured victory in presidential race by winning Pennsylvania. “Congratulations @JoeBiden on your spectacular victory! As the VP, your contribution to strengthening Indo-US relations was critical and invaluable. I look forward to working closely together once again to take India-US relations to greater heights,” Modi said via a quick jotting on Twitter. “Heartiest congratulations @KamalaHarris! Your success is path-breaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans. I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership,” Modi stated by another twitter post. –IHN-NNINDIA HERE AND NOW

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