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India and Indian Americans stand to benefit the most with Biden

By Ajay Bhutoria

This week, former Vice President Joe Biden officially secured the Democratic nomination to run for the President of the United States.

Joe Biden is a leader; Trump is a Tweeter. America needs a leader. Not a Tweeter.

Choice is clear for voting in Nov 2020. Choice is even clearer for Indo Americans and South Asians. Biden is the best answer for India and Indian-Americans. The Indian community sees him as one of ‘our’ leaders.

There are around 4.4 million Indo-Americans. And Indian Americans have been traditionally with the Democrats. There is a small percentage now turning Right Wing and supporting Trump. Mostly the recent immigrants who are still under the influence of Indian trends. Hence the affiliation with Modi and Indian politics. Trump’s recent visit to India was with an eye on the Indo-American votes.

Indian-Americans are emerging as a significant vote bank in US elections.

Indo Americans are transforming themselves from being a quiet and non-controversial community of professionals, academic and traders to active participants in politics.

A record 60 Indian-American candidates ran for federal, state and local offices across the US, including 20 for the US Congress. In November 2016, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal and Kamala Harris were elected to the US Congress and Senate; Ami Bera was re-elected. This is the highest number ever of elected representatives of Indian origin in the US Congress.

The US-India strategic partnership thrived during the Obama –Biden Administration. President Obama and Biden established themselves as reliable champions of the bilateral relationship that witnessed Washington and New Delhi expand their engagement in a number of substantive areas including cooperation on the security front. The United States now conducts more military exercises with India than with any other country in the world, while counter-terrorism and intelligence collaboration between the two increased dramatically following the infamous November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

President Obama and Biden took significant steps to relax export-controls on India to allow New Delhi greater access to advanced US technology.

The Obama Biden Administration approved sale of more than $8 billion in military equipment from US defence suppliers to New Delhi. Economically, the Obama –Biden administration laid the foundation for trade growth with India and projected trade with India to cross the $500 billion mark by 2020.

Under the Trump administration, tensions are flaring as governments from the US to Europe, Japan and Australia move to cut dependence on China exposed by the pandemic, and India sees an economic opening that it is seeking to exploit.

Trump has shown he has been weak in handling relationships with China and the rest of the world including traditional American allies.  The Indo-Pacific region tensions are on rise with China–India stoking border issues.

The Biden Administration will handle the China relationship effectively. Joe Biden would sanction China for its plan to impose new national security rules on Hong Kong. His campaign on Wednesday accused President Donald Trump of having “enabled” Beijing’s curbs on freedoms in the former British colony. A Biden administration would “fully enforce” the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, “including sanctions on officials, financial institutions, companies and individuals,” Tony Blinken, a senior foreign policy advisor for Biden, said in a statement.

For Indo Americans in US some major issues to be considered are easier visa norms and rapid processing of Green cards for Indian professionals, easier access to the US market for Indian goods, active support, as opposed to lip service, on combating state-sponsored terrorism, greater understanding of India’s ties with Iran, at home in US supporting growth of small businesses, racial equality, among others.

Biden has clear policies and direction, which will help effectively resolve issues faced by the Indo American community in the US and grow Indo-US bilateral relationships at all levels, people-to-people, business to business and industry to industry.

On the face of it, most Indian Americans would say without hesitation that Biden would be a better President and world leader and better for India on all counts. In addition, the fact remains that except for making some shrill but general statements on turning the US more protectionist, Trump has not really done anything substantive to grow the relationship with India neither on trade front nor on immigration. He has made it tougher to get Green Cards or H1 visas. 

Trump, interestingly, has refused to take a position and, instead, offered to play peacemaker. Earlier in the campaign, he had called Pakistan “probably the most dangerous” country and talked about using India as a “check” on Pakistan. However, he has since changed his position — something he does all too often. If Biden wins— as seems likely — New Delhi will find a natural partner who will walk the talk.

The world today is facing inescapable challenges: a rapidly changing climate, the risk of nuclear conflict, trade wars, a rising China and an aggressive Russia, millions of refugees seeking shelter and security, and attacks on universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. The next president must repair our relationships with our allies and stand up to strongmen and thugs on the global stage to rally the world to meet these challenges. We can reclaim our longstanding position as the moral and economic leader of the world. We have to demonstrate respected leadership on the world stage.

Biden is an expert on foreign policy whose heart and values are rooted firmly in the middle class. He has stared down dictators and spoken out for America’s cops and firefighters. He is uniquely suited to lead this country as we work to put our country back on track.

It is time for a respected leadership on the world stage and a dignified leadership at home. It is time for equal opportunity, equal rights and equal justice. It is time for an economy that rewards those who actually do work. It is time for the President who stands for all of us.

In the end, a Biden presidency would be more strategically engaged with Asia and less focused on going home as this one.  However, until more clarity emerges on this, Biden will continue to remain the favorite of the Indian American community.

(Ajay Bhutoria is an author, community leader, tech entrepreneur and on the National Finance Committee for Biden for President 2020 and a leader on the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) National Leadership Council for Biden for President.)

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