Talking to the Hindu India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar says that whether it is President Trump or President Biden, he does not think it is a sharp binary option. Answering to the question from Suhasini Haidar whether India need to build a new engagement with the Biden administration, or will there be a seamless transition from the Trump administration, the minister said that he thinks there will be certain policies, which are American policies, because again, bear in mind is not just a President, there’s also Congress, and sometimes administrations carry on with the policies of those before.

Mr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar believes that when it comes to the United States, there will be strong elements of continuity even when there will be elements of change because at the very least, the storyline, the method, the modality of dealing with others, would be different. However, the minister added a caveat that none of this should really worry India as according to him when he looks at the potential administration, he sees familiar figures with whom he has worked for many, many years, including the period when he was Ambassador, and then Foreign Secretary.

Continuity in Change

Mr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is consistent on the one fact and that is despite the changes in the Oval Office, there would not be much change in what and how the US policy changes vis-à-vis India as according to him there continuity in change. He cites the example of presidential debates in the US where according to him when looked these debates were centered on other geographies like China, Russia and the Middle East. He thinks that there is a general consensus on India and there are no very sharply different policy views. Therefore, according to him he is reasonably confident that India will pick up and carry on. To the question whether Biden would be more intrusive on India’s domestic issues, he seemed assured as he said that since he has worked with all of them before he knows them, and more importantly, they know India.

Future of Quad under Biden Presidency

Since Donald Trump administration worked a lot on the Quad, his departure also means a setback to the efforts as Biden has made it clear that he would rather trust the traditional allies in NATO. When the question was asked to Jaishankar he said that he cannot judge India’s relationship with the United States in comparison to what the U.S. has with an ally because he is not an ally. However, he senses that when it comes to the Indo Pacific, there is the recognition today that none cannot deal with the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean as separate watertight theatres.

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