We will pick up where we left off: Jaishankar on Indo-US ties under Biden administration

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New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday exuded confidence that ties between India and the US will expand further under Joe Biden's administration, noting that he was part of the period when bilateral relations underwent a radical transformation.

'As vice president, we dealt with him. I happened to be the ambassador during the last phase of the Obama administration. We’d known him earlier when he was in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as the ranking Democratic member and then as the chairman,' Jaishankar said.

The external affairs minister was speaking at an online discussion organised by leading think-tank Gateway House.

'He (Biden) is very much part of this period when Indo-American relations underwent a radical transformation, which I reasonably date back to (Bill) Clinton’s visit,' Jaishankar said.

Jaishankar said President-elect Biden is “not a stranger' to India or to the relationship between the two countries.

'I am very confident that we will pick up where we left off, we have done that over the last four administrations.

'I think that will be the case as well here and I also say that because within the American politics, it’s not just that we deal with the administration of the day, we also tend to deal with the Congress,' Jaishankar said.

'American politics by its nature has very strong elements of bipartisanship,' he said.

Biden is known to be a strong proponent of closer India-US ties since his days as a senator in the 1970s and played a key role in getting the approval of the Senate for the bilateral civil nuclear deal in 2008.

In August 2001, Biden, as a chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote a letter to the then President George W Bush calling for the removal of sanctions against India.

In the midst of hectic negotiations between the two countries to conclude the civil nuclear deal, Biden was a critical ally for India in the Senate.

The deal had laid a strong foundation for the deepening of ties between the two leading democracies.

The strategic and defence ties between India and the US witnessed major expansion during Barack Obama's presidency and Biden, as Vice President, had played a key role in it.

It was the Obama administration in 2016 which designated India as a “Major Defence Partner” of the US intending to elevate the defence trade and technology sharing to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.

The Obama administration had supported India’s claim to permanent membership of the UN Security Council and significantly boosted co-operation with India to fight terrorism.

In his campaign documents, Biden spoke about his vision for the US-India partnership as well as on standing with India in facing threats in the region. PTI MPB RT RT