FINALLY, after an excruciating wait, long delays in vote counting, claims and allegations of poll rigging and a barrage of lawsuits, the United States of America (USA) has got a new President. Mr. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr (77) was elected as the 46th President of the United States, defeating President Mr. Donald Trump in an election that went down the wire much against the popular expectation of the maverick Republican retaining his turf. Mr. Joe Biden brings with him Senator Kamala Harris, who is of Indian origin, as the first ever woman Vice-President-elect of the United States.
A new dawn has descended on America which has rarely seen such a bitter and boisterous Presidential election. After two unsuccessful campaigns for the White House in 1988 and 2008, the septuagenarian’s moment has finally arrived, though delayed due to the close fight fought against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, economic fall-out of the lockdown and the George Floyd incident that stoked the age-old debate of racism.
All these factors combined to create a big impression on the voters’ minds which is clearly reflected in the massive vote swings in some States formerly considered bastions of the Democrats or the Republicans. The end margin was, however, a clean mandate for Mr. Biden when he flipped battleground States of Michigan and Wisconsin, presumed to back Mr. Trump. Being in the orbit of the Oval House for a long time, serving the US as an influential Vice-President, earning the honour of “Lion of America” from ex-President Mr. Barack Obama, Mr. Biden has finally been delivered the pinnacle he was yearning for. Seeking to “Unite America Again”, Mr. Biden now has a lot on table to deal with, starting from restructuring domestic health care in the shadow of the pandemic, to correcting damaged economy, to bringing the US back in the ambit of global agencies like the United Nations and World Health Organisation, to reassessing the shooting-from-the-hip foreign policy practiced by his predecessor.
The Democrat will need to bring out his wealth of experience gathered from the top corridors of power to rearrange the US template at home as well as abroad. Mr. Biden’s election brings into the office an old ally of India. He was a vocal advocate of deepening the US-India relationship even before becoming Vice President. One of the key figures in persuading Mr. Obama in signing the Indo-US Nuclear deal, the newly-elected POTUS has always championed a strong defence partnership with India. This line of thought suits New Delhi in the wake of the strategic pacts in defence cooperation signed by the two countries recently under the critical Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). Though India would not expect the overwhelming bonhomie that Mr. Trump shared with Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, New Delhi should rest assured with the fact that Mr. Biden, being an old-school, would carry forward the legacy of the US administration without changing the approach towards India. Present geopolitics and formation of a new world order has catapulted India to a position of strategic advantage. The changed reality has not lost on the ambivalent Democrats in America.