The Uncertain Future of US-India Security Cooperation

With the prospect of a Biden presidency becoming increasingly likely after the US media projected him the winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election, it is time to begin examining how a Biden administration might approach US foreign policy and security matters. There is much on the table ranging from China and Russia, to Iran and North Korea. Tonight, we’ll take a glance at what the future could hold for US-India relations, and more specifically the security cooperation forged between the two nations in the last two years or so.

The Modi government and Trump administration have gotten along magnificently. US-India relations have been strengthened in nearly every sector. The two nations have been working closer since 2017. The 2018 pledge by President Trump to create a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ brought new life to the 2007-2008 Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Along with a new emphasis, the Quad also received a new label, now being referred to as the U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations. Supporters of the Quad regard it as a growing ‘Asian NATO’ revolving around nucleus of the present four members and intended to contain China. Its detractors consider it a false start for Indo-Pacific cooperation and fated to do more harm than good. Beijing, of course, considers the Quad to be little more than an anti-China alliance, and the premise is not entirely false. China is regarded as an expanding threat to the security of region.

How a Biden administration will approach US-India relations and cooperation is unknown. The fact of the matter is that Biden has not revealed too much about his foreign policy designs. Given that he spent eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, this could mean Biden’s own foreign policy will mirror Obama’s.  His India policy will be inextricably tied to how his administration contends with an increasingly restless China. Given that India and China are embedded in their own stand-off in the Himalayas, a Biden administration might not want to appear as if it is favoring one over the other. Beijing can certainly point to the Sino-India standoff as a thorn in the side of its relations with the United States to gain concessions. The move did not work with the Trump administration but given the fact Biden will probably adopt a less confrontational stance with China, a move like that could be handsomely rewarded.

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