03:13 GMT25 October 2020
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    US President Donald Trump has been warning American voters that a victory for his Democratic rival Joe Biden in the 3 November election would mean a "victory for China". Despite his frantic appeals to American voters about the US-China rivalry, Trump continues to trail Biden in opinion polls.

    A potential Joe Biden presidency in the US would mean a more "systematic" and "predictable" American foreign policy, which would be welcomed by China after the "unpredictability" of the Trump administration, Professor Sreeram Sundar Chaulia, the Dean of the India-based Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA), told Sputnik.

    "Though they harbour the same inhibitions about China as those in President Trump’s administration, Beijing would be able to better anticipate the approach of a potential Biden administration than Trump", said Chaulia, a commentator on India-US relations.

    Chaulia noted that the yuan (or remnibi in Chinese), China's official currency, has been steadily rising against the backdrop of opinion polls predicting a victory for the 77-year-old Democratic contender.

    "His approach towards the world and China, in particular, would be more in line with traditional US policy", Chaulia noted, adding that Biden would follow a more "multilateral" approach in the region versus Trump's "unilateralism".

    "That would translate into the US policy being more effective as well as predictable at the same time. That could help China in anticipating US actions in the Indo-Pacific region", reckoned Chaulia.

    What Will Happen in Case of India-China Conflict?

    The remarks by the academic come amid a lingering military standoff between the two Asian giants in the remote eastern region of Ladakh, where both countries have differing perceptions of the de-facto Line of Actual Control (LAC).

    Indian analysts have been keenly following the US presidential race, with several commentators expressing fears that China will become bolder if Trump loses.

    Chaulia opined that even as New Delhi wouldn't be expecting or want direct US intervention in its five-month-old territorial dispute with China, the Trump administration has been doing all it can to supply sophisticated weaponry to India. "The deal on the supply of advanced Guardian drones to India is especially significant. The Trump administration has been pushing American companies to boost India's defence capabilities", said the foreign policy expert.

    Since the US recognised India as a major defence partner (MDP) in 2016, there has been a spurt in American military exports to India. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates that American arms sales to India between 2015 and 2019 has increased five-fold.

    Chaulia said that the Trump administration had definitely "advanced" the US-India Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the region as well as in the Indian Ocean region. He said the 2+2 Dialogue between the two countries was a sign that the interests of the two democracies were "increasingly converging".

    "There also seems to be marked shift in India’s stand on American involvement in the South Asian region. Earlier, we used to be wary of having them involved as a stakeholder. But the visit of Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun to Bangladesh is significant", he said.

    The expert underlined that India had also "welcomed" the signing of the Framework for a Defence and Security Relationship between the Maldives and India, another sign of a US "policy shift" in the region under Trump.

    "India wants the US to complement its efforts in South Asia because of China's growing influence in the region", said Chaulia.

    Ambassador Neelam Deo, a former Indian diplomat and the co-founder of Mumbai-based Gateway House, said that US statements "in support of India on the border dispute in some parts of Indian UT of Ladakh are definitely welcome".

    Deo scotched the buzz about fears of a more belligerent China if Joe Biden wins, highlighting that Washington DC would continue to stand with India regardless of the person in the White House.

    Deo has served as India's consul General in New York and envoy to Denmark during her long diplomatic career.

    Commenting on increased emphasis on the QUAD of late, the ex-envoy stated that it was important to bear in mind that the grouping wasn't yet a "formal alliance".

    Biden Extending His Lead Over Trump

    Meanwhile, a recent opinion poll by Opinium Research and The Guardian found that Biden has been extending his lead over President Trump. Fifty-seven percent of American voters polled for the survey stated they preferred Biden, compared to 40 percent who favoured Trump on 3 November.

    The Guardian highlighted that an opinion poll by CNN earlier this month had given Trump 41 percent approval ratings, while support for Biden had been the same at 57 percent.


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