Fareed Zakaria on a post-pandemic world and Biden's approach to India, China

Top foreign policy analyst Fareed Zakaria spoke to India Today TV News Director Rahul Kanwal on lessons for a post-pandemic world and Joe Biden's approach to India and China.

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A Biden administration will help India in trade matters, top foreign policy analyst Fareed Zakaria. (Photo: AP)

Top foreign policy analyst and Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria is out with his book 'Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World.' On his show NewsTrack, India Today TV News Director Rahul Kanwal spoke to Fareed Zakaria over a host of issues, including lessons for a post-pandemic world and US President-elect Joe Biden's approach to India and China. Excerpts from the interview.

Q: How far do you think Donald Trump is going to drag his refusal to accept defeat?

A: There's a process that allows him to do that. Nothing illegal. But he's violating every precedent. He's trying to exhaust every possible option, hoping for a miracle. But it won't change the outcome. Trump doesn't have good manners. It doesn't matter. He will be out of the White House soon.

Q: What do you have to say about the post-election political fractures in the US?

A: It's everywhere, including in India. The big cultural and class divides are much harder to bridge. This urban-rural divide is in India as well. It's happening all over the world. It's very destructive.

Q: To what extent will Joe Biden be able to heal these wounds?

A: Leadership always matters. Human beings have the capacity to make a difference. But it will be tough. The incentives for the Republicans are not to cooperate.

Q: What will be Biden's approach to India?

A: Broadly, it's an area of continuity. Twenty years ago, the US decided to have a stronger relationship with India. But Biden is not fundamentally protectionist. Trump is. A Biden administration will help India in trade matters. Problem is, there was no Trump policy for India. The Indians have to figure out what they want. Last time they asked for a nuclear deal and it happened.

Q: Do you see a greater interference under a Biden administration in matters such as Article 370 in Kashmir?

A: They are slightly more likely to get involved. It's not such a bad thing for India. India should welcome high scrutiny by human rights organisations.

Q: What will be Biden's approach to China?

A: It's a bipolar world. Trump and Biden haven't figured how to deal with China. There will be cooperation in matters like climate change. But there is going to be a great strategic competition.

Q: How will a Biden administration respond to an India-China conflict?

A: It's puzzling why China is flexing its muscle militarily, not just with India but with many other countries. Xi believes in being tougher externally. A Biden administration will take the same view as the Trump administration or the Obama administration. It will not be centrally involved. New Delhi will have to negotiate with Beijing. There will not be an American dimension. But a military conflict is not inevitable. Modi is aware and trying to lower the temperature.

Q: How will the Covid-19 pandemic change the world?

A: Economic paralysis will be the first thing people will be seeing. Everyone will be searching for growth. Modi is doing more reforms than he has done before to jumpstart the economy. You have to have an open market and more security. That combination is hard to achieve. But that's where the future is. We will not go where we were. It will be a hybrid model of digital and physical. But digital will be the base.

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