US presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris will view India on its merits and New Delhi should also do the same, India’s former Ambassadors to the US Navtej Sarna and Arun Kumar
Singh said in conversation with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, and author and senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai in TNIE Expressions, a series of live webcasts with people
“Harris is on the ticket (running mate) as she is perceived to be black and portrays herself as black. She is politically correct in doing so. Historically and politically America is about white and black….Black women are the Democratic bedrock of supporters. However, she will have an influential voice on India file. She will not budge from her positions and take India on its merits,” Sarna said. Singh said Harris was picked keeping in mind women voters and the Black community. “Her statements since becoming a Senator and running mate have been emphasising her Indian American identity... We saw large numbers of Indian Americans in the Obama administration. This has been taken forward during Trump. For Indian Americans, they would be enthused irrespective of their views of American politics. Harris captures change and progress that is taking place,” he said.
On the challenges and changes that would confront bilateral ties if there is a change in regime, the former diplomats said overall, we would be on a positive ground with some changes in nuances. “If we see Biden come to power, the changes will not only be for India; there will be a turning of foreign policy... It will be a change of stance for the US where they will looking back into globalisation, assuring allies, working with alliances, getting back into multilateral organisations like WHO, UNESCO, Paris Climate agreement,” Sarna said.
Singh, on the other hand, felt that broadly, we will be at a good place. “The Trump administration has been supportive of us broadly on the issue of terrorism and at the same time they have gone ahead and signed a deal with the Taliban not taking fully into account India’s interests. They have been supportive of us with regard to China and the Indo-Pacific, increased technology sharing and put India on strategic authorisation level-1. They called out China’s aggressive actions in Ladakh but at the same time they have taken action against us on trade issues which did not happen during Obama administration. Then, there are the actions on the H1-B visas…driven by his ‘America first’ narrative and focusing on his own core political base which have not been so positive for India,” he said, and added that each administration will pose a different set of challenges, but broadly it will be a positive trajectory.