India might determine in closing US debate

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 17

The next and the final US Presidential debate on October 22 could feature India and the wider neighbourhood, said sources here tracking the trajectory of the elections.

The two candidates – US President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden – have not dwelt much on the American foreign policy, especially in the Asia Pacific, that seems to be the focus of the current administration. The scant focus on foreign policy so far is also because one out of three scheduled debates was cancelled after Trump refused to participate in an online format.

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The moderator, Christine Welker, has chosen six topics for in-depth discussions with the two candidates. While three are domestic issues, the other three — climate change, leadership and national security — have international ramifications and will be of interest to Indian foreign and security policy makers. The three domestic issues are Covid, race and American families.

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The topics at the first Presidential debate were mostly inward looking.

On the human rights side, a free pass is expected from Trump. Biden, though, could give anxious moments to Indian policymakers if he dwells on Kashmir and proposes that India and Pakistan should take to each other to resolve it, which is the mainstream democratic position, said the sources.

They, however, expect a greater likelihood of Biden focusing more on the unrest and repression in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

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