Is China’s Threat Driving the US, India Closer Together?
The US President Joe Biden has decided not to comment on India’s internal politics. Are the both countries coming together because of China?
The Biden administration has reportedly decided not to speak out publicly against India’s democratic backsliding in its treatment of religious minorities and the media, according to senior US officials.
This silence comes as China’s assertiveness under President Xi Jinping continues to alarm both India and the US.
India has also faced scrutiny for its strong defense ties with Russia and its vast purchases of Russian crude. Although the US needs India to buy Russian oil to keep prices low, some US lawmakers have raised concerns about India’s defense ties with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
Despite this, India remains crucial to US geopolitical and economic goals in the Indo-Pacific, and the US sees it as impossible to solve pressing global challenges such as climate change without New Delhi.
The US has decided to prioritize strategic alignment with India over criticism of its democratic backsliding.
The officials, who asked not to be identified because they were discussing internal deliberations, criticized the pressure that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has placed on the media and religious minorities.
They also criticized his party’s targeting of opposition lawmakers. U.S. geopolitical and economic objectives in the Indo-Pacific place India at an ever-increasingly important position, so the decision to avoid criticizing Modi is primarily a response to rising concerns about China.
President Joe Biden’s emphasis on human rights and framing of a worldwide war between liberals and autocracies have clashed with the strategic reality of a world where adversaries like China and Russia are pushing for more influence, as demonstrated by the decision to handle India.
In light of the invasion of Ukraine, US senators have begun to question India’s close defense connections with Russia and its substantial imports of Russian crude; yet, the government still maintains that India is necessary for maintaining low oil prices.
And, according to these sources, growing worries about China’s increasing assertiveness under Xi Jinping have contributed to closer ties between the US and India.