WASHINGTON: The US-India relationship has become weaker under the Biden administration, according to Indian-American Kash Patel, who served as the chief of staff to the acting United States Secretary of Defence in the last few weeks of the previous Trump administration.
Patel, in an interview to PTI, said that there is a pretty good possibility of former president Donald Trump running for re-election in 2024.
The former Pentagon chief of staff, who attended both the Houston and Ahmedabad rallies of Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2019 and February 2020, said that the bilateral relationship has deteriorated under the Biden administration.
“The relationship has gotten weaker,” Patel said.
“President Trump and Prime Minister Modi had an extraordinary relationship with respect. And they were working together to counteract the things like Chinese aggression, not just on the Indian border but on the global stage. They were also working together to counteract things in Pakistan when it came to counterterrorism matters and hostage situations,” he said.
The two leaders knew that not only the strong relationship but also allowing the economies of scale to be built in India and America were mutually beneficial, Patel said.
Observing that the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated after the withdrawal of American troops, the former Pentagon chief of staff said he believes that the US would have no other option but to send its troops on the ground in 18 months.
The United States, in the middle of the Ukrainian crisis, needs a strong leadership, which the current occupant to the post of President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has miserably failed, Patel said.
“It takes a strong position of leadership to do that (punitive steps) from a national security perspective. We just don’t have that,” he said.
Patel, who traces his origin to Gujarat, was in news early this month as he aired an interview with Trump on Epoch Times TV.
While he did not ask the question on the 2024 election bid, Patel feels that his former boss is headed that way.
“I didn’t ask him if he was going to run again in 2024. But I think it’s a pretty good probability,” he said.
Patel said that Trump, a Republican, strongly feels that the country needs a change in leadership and the leadership needs to be strong.
“Unfortunately, from everything from the Afghan evacuation disaster under President Biden, to how China and Russia have risen to power, and now we’re talking about the Ukrainian situation, I just think it shows how much footage the American national security apparatus has lost on the world stage.
“That’s because I believe there is a shift in priorities… a stark shift when President Trump was in power versus now when President Biden is in power,” he told PTI.
“They are focused on the politicisation of the national security apparatus and more focused on headlines and the mainstream media than (on) the mission. And that’s what we were always focused on with a mission-oriented approach under President Trump. And that’s the main difference,” Patel said.
Responding to a question, Patel said that the situation in Afghanistan has worsened now.
“I think unfortunately, conventional forces will be back in Afghanistan, probably in around 18 months or so. That’s because I believe that there is a rise in ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Taliban insurgency. That’s not good for not just America, that’s not good for the world in terms of security,” he said.
The situation in Afghanistan is already deteriorating and Russia and China have now gone in to exploit the mineral wealth of Afghanistan for their own purposes, which is another national security issue that the Biden administration has permitted for and it’s not being counteracted, he said.
Observing that the rise of China is very similar to how Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing on the world stage, he said what Putin is doing in Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping is using Taiwan similarly.
On the global stage, Xi is using propaganda machines to win supremacy over American national security interests and American national security priority, he said.
“We are only starting to scratch the surface of all the monetary interest the Biden family has had, not just in the Ukraine, but in China. And I think unfortunately, nobody is really focusing on that,” Patel added.