Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 22
In the first comment on India-US ties, the White House has pointed to the long-running continuity over successive US administrations in advancing this relationship and hoped that Kamala Harris’ nomination as the first Indian American to serve as Vice President would further cement it.
“President Biden respects and values the long bipartisan successful relationship between India and the US,” said Jen Psaki during her maiden media briefing after taking over as the White House Press Secretary.
She noted that Biden had visited India many times and pointed to the intent among both Republicans and Democrats for many years to advance bilateral ties. “He looks forward to continuation of that,” she said.
Meanwhile, the US State Department held its first foreign interaction even as career diplomat and Foreign Service Institute Director Daniel Smith held the fort as Acting Secretary because the confirmation hearings were underway for Tony Blinken, Biden nominee as Secretary of State.
Another career diplomat and Acting Assistant Secretary Philip Reeker met with British Ambassador to the US Karen Pierce while Under Secretary David Hale attended meetings and briefings at the State Department.
Hale had met Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla last July to review the entire gamut of bilateral engagements including immigration issues during Indo-US foreign office consultations.
On Thursday, during his confirmation hearing at the US Senate, Blinken was asked about the Biden administration’s plans for India which sees China in “new light after the border clashes”. Romney also wanted to know the Biden administration’s response to Indian openness to work with the US in its military preparation and war games.
“We are working with India so that no country, including China, could challenge its sovereignty… we are with it on concerns we share about terrorism,” Blinken replied to Romney.
He said India was a bipartisan success story over successive administrations starting with Bill Clinton when both sides got over the tensions due to India’s nuclear tests in 1998. The ties were bolstered by the civil nuclear deal (George Bush) which Biden helped pass through US Congress, defence procurement and information sharing (Barack Obama) and the concept of the Indo-Pacific (Donald Trump).
“So, I think there are many ways in which we can continue with the path that successive administrations have put us on,” he said while offering the climate crisis as a new area of cooperation especially because Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a strong advocate for renewable energy and associated technologies.
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