President Biden has declared “the battle between democracy and dictatorship” to be the battle that marks his era. But as he lays the red carpet on the South Lawn of the White House for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday morning, Mr. Biden will effectively call for a temporary truce.
In granting Modi a much-anticipated state visit accompanied by a star-studded gala dinner, Mr. Biden will turn his attention to the leader serving as president. The decline of democracy in the world’s most populous country. Mr Modi’s government has cracked down on and cornered dissidents, fueling fears of an authoritarian turn not seen since the 1970s when India fell to a dictatorship.
But Biden, like his predecessor, concluded that he needed India just as he believed he needed it, despite human rights concerns. Saudi Arabia, Philippines And there are other outright dictatorships or countries that do not fit the ideal democratic category. In the midst of conflict with Russia, Uneasy confrontation with ChinaBiden is forced to accept the shortcomings of his American friends.
So, two-and-a-half years into the administration, the democracy versus dictatorship paradigm has become something of a geopolitical constraint for Mr. Criticism has become virtually certain, even though the points are largely unacceptable. When you shook hands with someone who didn’t pass George Washington’s test. Even some of his top advisers personally see the structure as too much black and white in a gray world.
Hal Brands, professor of international affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said, “Whenever a president dresses his foreign policy in the language of values, any concession to geopolitical reality invites cries of hypocrisy. is inevitable,” he said. “The reality, of course, is that all U.S. presidents, including those most ardent about democracy and human rights, are aware that there are relationships too strategically important to hold concerns about democratic values hostage. I knew.”
This dynamic has played out repeatedly and has become a tantalizing topic for some administration officials. They said democracy slogans do not fully capture finer-grained strategies beyond simply dividing the world into two opposing camps. Rather, it was a recognition of the growing global trend away from freedom and the threat posed by more aggressive powers such as Russia and China.
“From our perspective, nothing was easier than making a jersey,” Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday. “It is always important to identify long-term trends and try to steer those trends in the right direction, and to prepare more sophisticated approaches to how we build relationships with different countries. bottom.”
As officials began to describe the forces that were decidedly not on Russia’s side in the war against Ukraine, the White House made Modi’s visit an important step in strengthening ties with one of the key “battlefield states.” I see it as a moment. And U.S. officials see India as a bulwark against China’s advances.
“I expect this to be a historic visit,” Mr. Sullivan said, expecting “a good number of deals to be announced,” especially on military sales, technology, supply chains, semiconductors and energy. “From my point of view, this will truly be one of the defining partnerships of our time.”
Mr Sullivan said Mr Biden had not betrayed his promise to democracy by hosting Mr Modi so lavishly, and said the president would raise concerns about democracy and human rights, albeit diplomatically. rice field. Mr Sullivan said Mr Biden “will try to take our stand without being seen as disrespectful or preaching to other nations with a proud history of sovereignty”.
Clearly, the president will do so without the traditional joint press conference he does with many visiting leaders. No official date has been announced, but Modi will not hold a press conference on the mainland nor is he interested in being questioned by American journalists, so Indian officials have called for such a meeting to be held by the U.S. side. are resisting the efforts of
Modi will arrive at the White House on Wednesday night for a private dinner with Biden, who has just returned from a three-day trip to California. The president will then formally welcome Modi with a glamorous arrival ceremony on the South Lawn on Thursday morning. After the Japan-China talks, the two are scheduled to meet again at a state dinner in the evening, the third time Biden has held the event after an event for world leaders during his presidency. France and Koreatwo powerful democracies.
Modi arrives as well as India just over China As the most populous country in the world, we feel that we are showing our true worth on the world stage. Now the fifth largest economy on earth, India has a young workforce, a strong technology industry, a growing consumer market and a slim potential as a manufacturing hub.
India-U.S. trade is worth about $190 billion a year and could soon reach $500 billion, says Atul Keshap, former U.S. envoy to New Delhi and now chairman of the India-U.S. Business Council. I expect it to have potential. Only Canada, Mexico, the European Union and China participate in that league.
While many of the US and India’s strategic goals have been achieved, Keshap said in an online discussion, “We still need something to further strengthen our commercial and business ties, because that is the true meaning and thread of ties. It is.” “
It may be China, as US business and political leaders look to India as the country deserving of taking some of its enormous weight in the global economy. With growth expected to exceed 6% this year, India is making its presence felt to both buyers and sellers everywhere while much of the rest of the global economy is hampered by the Ukraine war and inflation. there is
“The United States needs India as much as India needs America,” said Happymon Jacob, who teaches Indian foreign policy at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. . “The post-Ukrainian war power struggle and India’s stance reinforced the argument in Washington, D.C. and other world capitals that New Delhi cannot be forced around and must be engaged. has become an indispensable superpower.”
That has partly masked the shrinkage of Indian democracy under Modi over the past nine years. Some democracy watchdogs have downgraded India, using terms like “electoral dictatorship” and “flawed democracy.” India is the top country in the world using internet shutdowns to quell unrest. Opposition leaders are often raided by investigative agencies and bogged down in court. Rahul Gandhi, a prominent opposition leader, kicked out of parliament He is accused of defaming Mr Modi’s name and is fighting to avoid jail time.
Some experts argue that India’s vigilance against democracy is exaggerated, and that despite violations of civil liberties and setbacks in minority protections, more people, especially women, are being forced to die in other parts of the country. He argues that democratic norms, such as participating in elections, are deepening. .
But Mr Modi’s shrewd consolidation of power has cemented Hindu supremacy over India’s constitutional secular democracy, with attacks on mosques and churches, harassing infidel couples, and transporting beef. It brings impunity to supporters of right-wing vigilantes who lynch men accused of committing crimes.can see the state As partisanship grows In terms of how it does justice.
None of the prime ministers are interested in talking to Mr. Biden, and the issue is seen as a domestic political issue that has nothing to do with the U.S. government.Just as Mr. Biden abandoned his pledge to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” and instead Courting Crown Prince Mohammed bin SalmanOver the next few days, he plans to highlight points of common interest with Modi rather than differences of opinion.
India “is sending a message to the United States that it needs to choose between preaching to India or engaging with India,” Jacob said. “I think the United States has realized that the geopolitical usefulness of the Indo-U.S. relationship will be sacrificed if it decides to denounce India.”
Alex Travelery and Karan Deep Singh contributed to the report.