United States Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Saturday said strengthening ties between America and India would be a matter of “high priority” for his administration, as the two countries were “natural partners”. Biden would also work with India in the Indo-Pacific region to ensure no country, including China, “is able to threaten its neighbours with impunity”, a document released by his campaign said.
In the policy document on Indian-Americans, the campaign said Biden believed there can be “no tolerance” for terrorism in South Asia, cross-border or otherwise.
“No common global challenge can be solved without India and the United States working as responsible partners,” the document stated. “Together, we will continue strengthening India’s defense and capabilities as a counter-terrorism partner, improving health systems and pandemic response, and deepening cooperation in areas such as higher education, space exploration, and humanitarian relief.”
The document also reiterated Biden’s opposition to the ban on H1-B visa imposed by American President Donald Trump. It said a Biden administration would “preserve family unification as a core principle of our immigration system”, increase the number of visas offered for permanent and work-based immigration and work towards eliminating the country-quota for Green Cards.
“He [Biden] will support first reforming the temporary visa system for high-skill, specialty jobs to protect wages and workers, then expanding the number of visas offered and eliminating the limits on employment-based green cards by country, which have kept so many Indian families in waiting for too long,” the campaign added.
Besides this, Biden will ensure that South Asian Americans are represented in his administration, starting with his vice-presidential nominee, Senator Kamala Harris, “whose mother emigrated from India to study and build a life in the United States”, the campaign policy document said.
“Our government will reflect the diversity of the United States, and Indian American voices will be included in shaping the policies that impact their communities,” it added. “From fighting COVID-19 to building our economy back better to reforming our system of immigration, a Biden-Harris Administration will be one that Indian-Americans can count on.”
The administration will also take steps to stem the “rising tide of hate and bigotry”, address the security needs of house of worship, eliminate language barriers and honour the diversity and contributions of Indian-Americans, it said.
The policy document comes days after Biden named US Senator of Indian origin Kamala Harris as his running mate for the election in November. Harris is the first African American as well as Asian American woman to run for vice president at a time when the country has witnessed huge protests against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.