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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

India’s bonhomie with USA president-elect Joe Biden

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India-friendly Joe Biden’s ascendency to the top job in the United States means a lot for India, especially in the area of trade and economic relations as the country is looking for large foreign investments from diplomatic allies to grow its domestic industry and boost employment. Contrary to the official data on sources of FDI inflows into India from April 2000 to December 2019, putting the USA as the fifth largest investor after Mauritius, Singapore, Japan and the Netherlands, nine out of the top 10 foreign companies in India today are from the US. The nine companies are: Apple, Amazon, Citibank, Coca-Cola, Google, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Microsoft Corporation and Pepsico. Japan’s Sony Corporation ranks 10th in the list. For several years, the US and India have been working on boosting investment and employment. Now the time has come for a stronger push. For this, both the US industry and India needs support from Washington DC, especially with regard to technology transfer and immigration rules.

The reason behind the brewing expectation of deeper Indo-US business and trade relations is Biden’s long and productive association with India even much before he became the Vice President in the Barack Obama administration. He had always advocated a stronger relationship with India. As early as in 2006, three years before he became the US Vice-President, Biden’s vision of the future of US-India relations mentioned: “My dream is that in 2020, the two closest nations in the world will be India and the United States.” Although Obama, then a US Senator, was initially hesitant to support the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, Biden had championed the cause leading the charge and working with both Democrats and Republicans to get the civil nuclear deal approved in the US Congress in 2008. Another reason behind the expectation under the present circumstances is Biden’s personal dislike for Chinese President Xi Jinping in recent years. Xi was one of the very few global leaders who didn’t immediately congratulate Biden after his election victory, apparently because President Trump contested the election results. However, days later, China finally congratulated Biden and Kamala Harris after Biden’s Arizona victory. The Biden administration’s diplomatic and economic ties with China will bear significance on US-India relations.

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The possibility of a better US-Iran relation, under the Biden administration, may also directly benefit India and its economic ties with Iran which came under severe pressure from actions by Trump imposing trade embargo and Xi promoting large infrastructure investment in Iran. China and Iran are in the process of sealing a long-term economic and security pact. India is highly concerned about its strategic stake in the Chabahar port project in Iran. India has committed a Rs 100 crore investment to the project in its last budget. The port is close to Pakistan’s Gwadar port being developed by China as part of its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. However, it may not be immediately easy for Biden to keep his pre-poll promises on immigration visas for which the rules have been tightened by Trump through official orders over the last three years. Visa and technology transfer issues hold the key to the expansion of economic relations between the two large democracies.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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