Biden administration pushes for deeper ties with India, tough stance against China

The Biden administration’s first formal guidance on foreign policy calls for revitalising global partnerships to assert USA’s global leadership, reversing the Trump-era’s unilateral approach while maintaining the previous regime’s tough stance towards China

March 04, 2021 / 01:54 PM IST
Image: Reuters

Image: Reuters

The Joe Biden administration will deepen its ties with India and step up global diplomacy to strengthen international alliances, according to a national-security blueprint issued by the White House, which reverses key planks of former president Donald Trump’s foreign policy but continues to regard China as an aggressive adversary.

The Interim National Security Strategic Guidance is expected to provide direction to various departments of the US federal government on how to realign their foreign policy, outreach and work objectives until a formal National Security Strategy is unveiled.

"We will deepen our partnership with India and work alongside New Zealand, as well as Singapore, Vietnam, and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, to advance shared objectives," it said in the only mention of India in the 23-page document.

The document hints at the Biden administration's focus on creating comprehensive economic connections to governments across the Indo Pacific region, a long-term plan derailed by the previous administration which had junked the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP was set to become America's premier trade pact with Pacific rim countries that would have acted as a counterweight to China's heft in the region.

"Beyond our core alliances, we will also double down on building partnerships throughout the world, because our strength is multiplied when we combine efforts to address common challenges, share costs, and widen the circle of cooperation," it says.


China has been mentioned 15-times, mostly in the context of an increasingly assertive and authoritative rival with values diametrically opposed to the US. While the US will engage in meaningful dialogue with China, on a range of emerging military technological developments that implicate strategic stability, it will now also ramp up its presence in China's background with even more support for allies.

"Our democratic alliances enable us to present a common front, produce a unified vision, and pool our strength to promote high standards, establish effective international rules, and hold countries like China to account. That is why we will seek to reaffirm, invest in, and modernize the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and our alliances with Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea," the document says.

Highlighting strategic competition with China multiple times, it suggests that the most effective way for America to out-compete an economically powerful China over the long-term is for the US to invest in its citizens, economy, and democracy.

Back to basics

In a clear and expected break from the previous Donald Trump administration, Joe Biden has called for the US to reclaim its place in international institutions, lead first with diplomacy, and revitalize America’s unmatched network of alliances and partnerships. The globalist approach to foreign policy is a reset of Trump's active disengagement from international affairs, most strikingly visible in the US withdrawal from multilateral institutions such as the World Health Organization and global agreements like the Paris Climate Treaty.

However, Trump's refocus in policy had found support from many Americans, who want the government to prioritize domestic economic and law & order issues rather than global challenges. Staying the course on his election promise, Biden has however sought to take back America to its previous position as the predominant global power setting the agenda on the world stage.

"And as we do this work, we must also demonstrate clearly to the American people that leading the world isn’t an investment we make to feel good about ourselves. It’s how we ensure the American people are able to live in peace, security, and prosperity. It’s in our undeniable self-interest," Biden says.
Subhayan Chakraborty
first published: Mar 4, 2021 01:53 pm

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