India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated 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, speaking at an online discussion organised by leading think-tank Gateway House.
Jaishankar said "President-elect Biden is not a stranger" to India or to the relationship between the two countries.
"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.
In another online event yesterday, he also talked about why India did not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal because it would have had “negative consequences”.
New Delhi had indicated its concerns with RCEP at the East Asia Summit a year ago because a number of key concerns had not been addressed during the prolonged negotiations for the trade deal, Jaishankar said during an online conversation on India-EU relations organised by the Centre for European Policy Studies.
The 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea signed RCEP on Sunday. Japan led the drafting of a ministers’ declaration that left the door open for India to join the world’s largest trading bloc, covering nearly a third of the global economy, at a later stage.
Referring to a long-delayed proposal for a free trade agreement (FTA) with EU, Jaishankar said the Indian government had spoken of the need to resume negotiations on this. India, he added, wants a “fair and balanced FTA” with EU.
Jaishankar also highlighted the importance attached by India to mobility agreements with European states to facilitate the movement of skilled professionals. There are about 34 million people of Indian-origin across the world, including almost nine million in West Asia, he pointed out.