The US-India relationship after Trump: a return to convention?

Political leadership International relations United States of America India

Over the past few months, there has been a barrage of commentary on the impact of a Biden Presidency on the India-US relationship. There is no doubt that India sought to benefit from the personal chemistry between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Donald Trump, clear examples being two big-ticket events at stadiums where they jointly addressed massive crowds: the “Howdy Modi” event in Houston (Texas, US) in September 2019 and the “Namaste Trump” event in Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India) in February 2020.

Key points:

  • While Donald Trump may not have conceded the election, the world is very much looking to the post-Trump era.
  • Unlike Trump, President Biden is likely to focus on working closely with US allies and others on geopolitical, economic and environmental issues of concern.
  • Biden’s likely more flexible approach towards Iran, difference in approach to immigration issues, and even in countering China, are some areas where India and the US could find synergies.
  • Absolute convergence is impossible between any two countries, but there are more convergences than divergences between the US and India. On human rights issues, as well as minority rights, the Biden-Harris White House will not mince words, as a result of which it could be tougher on China.
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