Pakistan hopeful with Joe Biden, US-India ties also exemplary

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Nation special report

KARACHI: Pakistan Government and serious circles of sensible people do have great expectations and hopes with the US President Joe Biden that since he is fully aware of importance of Pakistan and India in South Asia and good cordial relations between the two atomic powers, he will definitely take initiatives to normalise these ‘tension inflicted’ ties.

“A big hurdle will be removed for President Biden in normalising the situation in South Asia if tension between Pakistan, India and Afghanistan changed into normalcy”, the political observers in Pakistan believe.

As a Vice President of USA, Joe Biden visited Pakistan during PPP and PML-N both regimes and the then President Asif Ali Zardari bestowed upon him the second highest national award ‘Hilal-e-Pakistan’ in when the later visited Islamabad in June 2008. US Senator Senator Richard Lugar was also presented the same award. Joe Biden and Senator Lugar both had soft corner for Pakistan and were in favour of approval of $1.5 billion non-military aid to that country. Asif Ali Zardari thanked the two for “consistently supporting Pakistan.”

Though, Pakistan officially not declared its opinion on the election results it was obvious that Islamabad wanted and expecting Democrat Joe Biden to take over as president. Pakistan was reportedly in trouble with the Donald Trump administration and was waiting for Joe Biden’s victory. He is an old diplomat and has cordial relations with Pakistan, and that is why Pakistan is inherent to him.

US-India relations

Luckily, Joe Biden also enjoys trustworthy relations with Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi and believes in frank and close ties with India. “It is a good omen that the US president can exercise his influence in bringing India and Pakistan closer removing present wind of mistrust” the observers opined.

One of the remarkable features of Indo-USA bilateral ties, is the strong bi-partisan support in the U.S. to strengthen its strategic partnership with India and work together on addressing global challenges. India-US relations have become stronger under successive US Presidents – either Republican or Democratic.

ISLAMABAD: Asif Ali Zardari, the then President of Pakistan bestowing upon Joe Biden the second highest national award ‘Hilal-e-Pakistan’ when the later visited Islamabad as US Vice President in June 2008.

India has a long-standing experience of working with both the Republicans and Democrats in the States. President Clinton, a Democrat, who was in office during 1993-2001 visited India in 2001.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an excellent rapport with the US administration under then Democratic Administration in USA led by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden during 2009-2016, it may be recalled. Obama visited India in 2010 and later as the Chief Guest on the occasion of Republic Day celebrations in 2015.

President elect Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of India and India-US partnership as a Senator (1972-2008) and later, as Vice President (2009-2016).
As a Senator, and as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he consistently lent his support to several resolutions in support to several resolutions in support for India.

As Vice President, Biden visited India from 22-25 July 2013 on a four-day official visit accompanied by his wife Jill Biden. He called on then President Pranab Mukherjee, met then Vice President Hamid Ansari and visited Gandhi Smriti Museum in Delhi. He also visited Mumbai to meet business leaders at a round table and delivered a policy speech at the Bombay Stock Exchange.

WASHINGTON: Joe Biden and Narendra Modi during the latter’s visit to the US in 2014. Photo: US Department of State

When Narender Modi visited USA in September 2014, Biden hosted lunch for him. He chaired a Joint Session of the Congress in June 2016 which was addressed by PM Modi. Subsequently ties continued to grow under the Trump administration marked by key agreements and big visits.

The U.S. is India’s largest trading partner, with a combined value of trade in goods and services standing at $ 149 billion in 2019. Investments are growing in both directions. As of 2019, U.S. direct investments in India are estimated at about $ 45.9 billion whereas Indian FDI in U.S. is estimated at $16.7 billion.

The strength of the partnership between the two nations lies in substantive bilateral agenda and growing people-to-people ties. The nearly four million strong Indian diaspora in the United States has played an important role in bringing countries closer. The symbiotic people-to-people connects reflect our complementary strengths in the domains of knowledge, talent, education and innovation.

PPP denies

Meanwhile, the PPP has denied the news circulating on media that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Zardari have been invited by the US President-elect Joe Biden to attend his inauguration ceremony on January 20. Senator Farhatullah Babar told BBC that no such invitation has been received and none of them is going to Washington to attend the ceremony.

A number of leaders of Peoples Party had confirmed the news but since it was not announced officially, there was doubt. Asif Zardari has been admitted to hospital due to sudden deterioration in his health condition.

Itinerary, date of departure and other details are awaited. Who will represent Pakistan Government and members of official entourage have not been announced officially yet but it is assumed that President Dr. Arif Alvi or Prime Minister Imran Khan will represent the country depending on the country’s internal situation.

According to informed sources, last month, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah visited the USA and held meeting with the members of the Democratic Party, sources added.

In the past, Asif Zardari and Obama governments have worked closely on different projects and Joe Biden as Vice President in Obama regime had visited Pakistan twice. He has complete understanding on Pakistan, its tense relations with neighbours India and Afghanistan. He is also well-versed with overall regional and geographical situation.