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Biden will prioritize defense and security ties with India

Washington: President-elect Joe Biden was an early supporter of the India-US relationship and his administration will continue to prioritize defense and security partnership with New Delhi, a key area which has progressed during Donald Trump’s tenure as president, a senior official from the Obama administration has said.

Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) spoke to  PTI on how the India-US relationship will shape up during Biden’s time in the White house.

Author of ‘Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World,’ Ayres had served as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia from 2010 to 2013.

She pointed out that even 15 years ago, Biden viewed the US and India as “two closest nations in the world”. He had even championed the civil-nuclear agreement with India in Congress, she recalled.

Biden’s election campaign website speaks on partnering with India to support rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region. His global priorities on fighting the coronavirus pandemic and tackling climate change will necessitate close cooperation with India, Ayres said.

“I’ve seen a lot of attention in the Indian media to the question of whether President-elect Biden will criticize India on questions of democracy and human rights — he has stated that he has concerns, and given his decades of diplomatic experience he would be likely to convey his views privately — but I’ve seen little on the question of climate change and clean energy,” Ayres said in response to a question.

We can see the catastrophic effects of climate change before us. Our country is on fire, and our coasts regularly hit by hurricanes, while India battles floods, drought, and extreme weather events; and we cannot solve this without dramatically scaling up clean energy, she said.

India has emerged as a global leader in solar (power) and it will be in all of our collective interest to renew cooperation on this area (which) the Trump administration set aside, Ayres said.

–PTI

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