”When America sneezes, the world catches a cold.” This proverb is cliché, but still, this is true as the hegemony of America over the entire world exists in one way or the other. America has been playing a unique role in world politics since the end of the two world wars. After the second world war, there were two superpowers, but after the disintegration of the USSR, the US was the only leader left to lead the world.
However, over a period of time, other countries like China, India and Russia have also started asserting their roles in influencing world politics. In this process, China has become the fiercest rival of the US in particular and the whole world in general—as it has started dominating and subduing the US through One Belt One Road policy, Maritime silk route and many other economic and political issues.
China has not only tried to subdue the US but also India. As a result of which, we are witnessing India and the US’s power tussle with China. In this contemporary situation, it is natural for India to have a good relationship with the US. Moreover, both have overlapping interests and mutual concern about an assertive China, which provide a sufficient unifying force for a strong strategic partnership.
India and the US are the two largest democracies of the world, and an election is a tool through which democracies function. The election results in the US are about to come out soon, and leading candidates are Donald Trump from the Republican Party and Joe Biden from Democratic Party. Now the question that arises is: who is better for India, Trump or Biden?
Trump’s rule is filled with controversies—as he believes in “America First” policy. The first one is regarding the H1-B visa, as the US has restricted it, which, in turn, has affected high-skilled persons from India and other nations. The second one is the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. It seems he is against common but differentiated responsibilities. And last but not least, his recent remark about ‘filthy India’ is derogatory.
However, in his regime, there are lots of agreements and MOUs that have been signed with India to protect and safeguard the interests of Indian militarily, economically and politically. First is COMCASA (Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement), which is the sharing of encrypted communication and equipment.
Second is the amendment in the US export control law which keeps India in a privileged category of NATO. The third is the 2+2 ministerial dialogue between both the countries among the foreign and defence ministers. Fourth is keeping Pakistan in the grey list of the financial action task force. These are some of the works in the context of Trump. Still, as of now, there is no work done by Joe Biden directly, but his stand on a few issues is quite clear and opposite to Trump’s—as reflected from his election manifesto.
Firstly, he said that will take the issue of climate change seriously and work with other countries. Secondly, he will ease restrictions on H1-B visa as a result of which Indian techies could get lucrative jobs in the US easily. Thirdly, he will rejoin all those multilateral agencies like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump left, and restore the dignity of NATO. Fourthly, he is against CAA and NRC in India. And last but not least, his inclination towards China is strong.
Apart from these signs of progress, the US has constantly been helping India in getting into several groups like the Multilateral export control regime, Wassenaar agreement, and Missile technology and control regime. As a result of this, India has gained access to highly sophisticated and automated defence tools, which are indispensable in the contemporary era to remain a superpower and protect its sovereignty.
What is important for India is its interest and not the person—as it is truly said, there are no permanent friends or enemies in world politics, what remains permanent is interest. If India and the US could synchronize effectively, then both of their interests could be protected.