New Delhi: With a little over two months left for the US Presidential elections, New Delhi seems to be “overwhelmingly” reaching out to the Democrats whose Presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are going out of their way to woo the Indian Americans in an unprecedented manner.
On 15 August, the Democrats celebrated India’s Independence Day — an unprecedented move, as never before has a major political party celebrated the independence of a foreign country as part of its US Presidential election campaign.
Biden and Harris also released their campaign document on the occasion, outlining the main contours of their policy towards India, another unprecedented move.
A top Indian official told ThePrint: “New Delhi has always done serious business with whoever has come to power in the US. This has always been our stance. Like always, India is reaching out to the Democrats also overwhelmingly.”
The official added India has always “enjoyed bipartisan support” in the US and that has been one of the unique aspects of the growing bilateral ties between New Delhi and Washington.
This outreach towards the Democratic Party gained momentum in the last couple of months in the backdrop of the Biden camp leading over the Donald Trump camp.
Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has been meeting Democratic Party leaders such as Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey, Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania, Tony Evers, Governor of Wisconsin, and Senator Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein, among others.
“It was good to reconnect with @SenFeinstein today. We discussed the importance of peace and security in Asia, India-US partnership including in the health sector and India’s efforts at countering Covid pandemic,” Sandhu had said in a tweet in July.
It was good to reconnect with @SenFeinstein today. We discussed the importance of peace and security in Asia, India-US partnership including in health sector and India's efforts at countering COVID pandemic.
— Taranjit Singh Sandhu (@SandhuTaranjitS) July 29, 2020
Earlier this month, during his meeting with Governor Wolf, Sandhu discussed “strong economic partnership and the important contributions of the Indian diaspora and Indian companies”.
Wonderful conversation with @GovernorTomWolf of Pennsylvania on our strong economic partnership & the important contributions of the Indian diaspora & Indian companies. Discussed the potential for collaboration in higher education; STEM areas; life sciences and health.
— Taranjit Singh Sandhu (@SandhuTaranjitS) August 7, 2020
Biden’s ‘dream’ is to make India, US ‘closest’ partners
According to Biden, who was the vice-president under the Barack Obama administration, his vision for 2020 is to make India and the US the “closest” partners in the world.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans are now eyeing the 4-million-strong Indian American community in the US, which forms a considerable vote bank there.
“My dream is that in 2020, the two closest nations in the world will be India and the United States,” Biden said in his address to the Indian American community on the occasion of India’s Independence Day celebrations.
The campaign document also highlighted Biden’s work with Democrats and Republicans to approve the 2008 US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement under former President Barack Obama.
The Biden campaign has made it clear that if he comes to power in the US, the administration will accord “high priority” to India.
“No common global challenge can be solved without India and the United States working as responsible partners… A Biden administration will also work with India to support a rules-based and stable Indo-Pacific region in which no country, including China, is able to threaten its neighbors with impunity,” the document stated.
“A Biden-Harris administration will be the one that Indian Americans can count on,” it added.
It is also committed to fighting the “hate and bigotry”, and defend the interests of Indian Americans from all backgrounds — Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Jain, and others.
“Indian Americans of all backgrounds — Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Jain and others — have been subjected to bullying and xenophobic attacks and need now, more than ever, a reassurance that our leaders in Washington will have their backs,” it said.
The Biden administration has also vowed to make the system of visas better such as the H-1B, among others, that impact the Indian professionals in the US. It has also said it will work together with India and take into account the strategic aspects of the bilateral relationship.