13 May, 2021

Valley In Soft Focus

Biden will tread lightly on the rights issue in Kashmir, but that might be a blemish on his foreign policy agenda

Valley In Soft Focus

One of the core foreign policy messages telegraphed by president-elect Joe Biden over the course of his campaign is that he will fight hard to strengthen democracy and human rights at a moment when both are under constant assault. This means the incoming Biden administration can be expected to put India’s policies in Kashmir under the microscope.

Due to strategic considerations, however, a Biden White House will likely be restrained in its criticism—a move that would benefit a crucial US-India partnership, but also risk undercutting the credibility of a key pillar of Biden’s foreign policy.

All indications point to Biden flagging a Kashmir issue that New Delhi doesn’t want outside actors, including close partners, touching with a 10-foot pole. In remarks at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington this past summer, Antony Blinken, a top Biden campaign foreign policy adviser who may receive a senior post in his boss’s administration, said there are “real concerns” about some Indian government actions, “particularly...

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