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As People Across The Globe Celebrate Biden’s Victory, What’s Ahead For India-US Relations?

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Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., popularly known as Joe Biden (Democratic party), is all set to be the 46th president of the United States of America after a historic victory over serving President Donald J Trump (Republican party) in the 2020 US President election on the 7th of November, 2020. After a last-minute vote number tussle, 20 constituent votes of Trump’s domestic state Pennsylvania put Biden over the 270 appointive votes required to win.

Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris is set to create history as she becomes the first woman of colour (part Jamaican, part Indian) to become the Vice President. Biden also served as the 47th Vice President from 2009 to 2017 during the presidential reign of Barack Obama.

Major media houses including the CNN, Associated Press and the New York Times have started projecting Biden as the winner; celebratory shouts, car horns and festive music could be heard on the streets of Washington D.C. as Americans waited for over three full days to hear who their next President is. Similar celebrations were reported in other cities across the country, including New York.

“America, I’m honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country. The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me,” Biden tweeted in his first public reaction to the news.

While the whole world, along with the USA, is celebrating the victory of the liberal power that is likely to modify the prevailing condition of racial discrimination, minority oppression and women’s rights in the country, how does this result align with our interest as Indians?

How a Joe Biden victory would revitalise India-US relations
Joe Biden on a visit to the Bombay Stock Exchange in 2013. | Vivek Prakash/Reuters

Dispute With China

The first speculated point could be the Covid-19 episode that has affected China’s global position. India, on its part, has been confronting with China due to a developing border conflict. While Trump transparently communicated his disappointment with China at the chance of separating ties, analysts accept that Biden will take a more discretionary course. Be that as it may, not much is anticipated to alter for India.

Higher Education And Work Visa For Indian Students, Professionals

US President-elect Joe Biden plans to extend the number of high-skilled visas, primarily the H-1B, and kill the restrain on employment-based visas by nation quota, both of which are anticipated to advantage tens of thousands of Indian experts affected by a few movement arrangements during the active Trump administration.

With Kamala Harris as his appointee, Biden is anticipated to invert the move of the active Trump administration to disavow work licenses to partners of H-1B visas — a move that had unfavourably affected an expansive number of Indian families in the US. This had also put a strong sense of uncertainty amongst Indian students who are pursuing higher education in the US or plan to do so in near future. All these steps are a part of a comprehensive movement change that the Biden administration plans to work on, either in one go or in formulated steps.

Existing Human Rights Violation In India (CAA-NRC, Rights Of Kashmiris)

Joe Biden has previously expressed his ‘disappointment’ in the implementation of the NRC in Assam the passing of the CAA into a law. He even urged India to restore the rights of Kashmiris. According to a policy paper titled Joe Biden’s agenda for Muslim American community posted on Biden’s campaign website, CAA and NRC are inconsistent with India’s constitutional values of secularism and democracy. The paper even compared these measures in Kashmir and Assam with the forced detention of Uyghur Muslims in China as well as the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Joe Biden has previously expressed his ‘disappointment’ in the implementation of the NRC in Assam the passing of the CAA into a law.

Biden’s pro-democratic, pro-freedom of expression, pro-equality and anti-Islamophobic position is likely to put pressure on the Modi government to take fundamental steps against these human rights violations and stand as two of the most strengthening democracies of the world.

Trade Relations

India and the US have a vigorous trade relation, estimated at over $149 billion. While the nations had a long-standing conflict over selected issues, the Obama-Biden administration worked efficiently to overcome these contrasts and establish a friendly diplomatic relationship. On the other hand Trump wasted that legacy. He chose to barely centre on trade deficit in merchandise and forced taxes on Indian imports. President Trump’s visit to India in February 2020 was big on visuals and glamour, but did not result within the exchange bargain that he had promised.

Talking about what his presidency would mean for India if elected, Biden wrote:

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.

Climate Change

While Donald Trump withdrew US’ participation from Paris Agreement, it will be essential to see the steps Biden will take towards climate change. The Obama-Biden administration had played a big role in making India sign the Paris Agreement, thus establishing allyship towards fighting the climate crisis. With Biden’s new policies on environment and energy policies, India’s disregard of its own policies and SDGs is likely to come to limelight.

With the aforementioned points, it is important to observe that although this victory of liberalism over fascism has been brought forward by the US citizens, it is sure to have an affirmative impact on global and national politics.

Featured image credit: US Department of State
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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