The importance of the US Presidential election for Planet Earth cannot be overstated. No country can remain unaffected by this event, the outcome of which impacts almost every area of global interaction.
Naturally, this election is watched very carefully not only by psephologists across the globe but also by economists, strategic analysts, journalists, environmentalists, politicians and even astrologers!
I am asked by almost everyone whom I know as to what the outcome of the US Presidential election will be. Will Donald Trump win, or will it be Joe Biden who will pip him to the post?
Election day is already here, and the outcome of the election cannot be forecast even at this late stage. There are so many imponderables involved that even the best-known political analysts in the US are not able to say with certainty as to who will win the US Presidential election.
However, to me, the really important question is this: What will be the impact of the election outcome on Indo-US relations? The relationship is on an unprecedented upswing, and will it hit a bumpy patch if Biden wins? Can the election outcome have a negative impact on India's relations with the US?
We need to view matters from a historical perspective. As the saying goes, history is a great teacher.
Let me point out that eight US Presidential visits to India have taken place till now as follows:
Dec 9-14, 1959--Dwight Eisenhower
July 31-Aug 1,1969--Richard Nixon
Jan 1-3, 1978--Jimmy Carter
March 19-25, 2000--Bill Clinton
March 1-3, 2006--George W. Bush
Nov 6-9, 2010-Barack Obama
Jan 25-27, 2015--Barack Obama
Feb 24-25, 2020--Donald Trump
Thus, the following facts can clearly be seen:
1) In the first thirty-one years after India's emergence as an independent country, only three US Presidential visits took place.
2) No US President visited India for the next 22 years.
3) From 2000-2020, five UP Presidential visits to India have taken place.
US Presidents do not visit a country so frequently unless they are seeking to foster closer relations. This analysis against a historical perspective clearly demonstrates that in the twenty-first century, India has acquired a lot of importance for the US.
The Indo-US relationship is now inextricably linked in the political as well as economic spheres, and we both consider each other as strategic partners. True, there are some problems that still need to be overcome, such as those relating to bilateral trade and restrictions on H1B visas which adversely impact Indian professionals and Indian software companies. However, the level of bilateral engagement has now reached unprecedented levels. China's territorial and economic expansionism has served as a catalyst for strengthening Indo-US bilateral ties, as has been evident from Trump's visit earlier this year as well as from meeting like those of the Quad in October and the 2+2 dialogue just a week ago.
It is true that Joe Biden has taken up positions on issues like CAA and Jammu and Kashmir which show a lack of sympathy for the Indian stand, but he did so in the context of electioneering. If he becomes the US President, he is bound to be practical and show much greater understanding because working closely with India has become an important aspect of US foreign policy; it will not be in US interests to undo the closeness in the present global scenario. The fact that the US sees India as a potential purchaser of weapons systems would make it even more necessary for Biden to seek a closer relationship with the Indian political establishment. In that sense, he will continue on the same path as Trump.
Thus, regardless of whether Trump wins or Biden does so, Indo-US relations will continue to strengthen as they have been doing in the last couple of decades.