Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday at a historic inaugural ceremony at the US Capitol. Kamala Harris was also sworn in as America’s 49th Vice President. She is also the first woman, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, first Black person, and first Asian-American to serve in the position.

In his first speech, Biden said, “Here we stand days after a riotous mob thought they could silence the will of the people. It will not happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.” He pledged to be honest with the country as it continues to confront difficulties, saying leaders had an obligation to “defend the truth and defeat the lies”. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal”.

“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day in history and hope, of renewal and resolve”, he said. Soon after his swearing in, Mr. Biden got to work and promised to “repair our alliances and engage with the world once again,”. For the Indian government in New Delhi, along with Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who was attending the inaugural, the work before them is cut out.

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External Affairs minister S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, all are banking on their significant experience of dealing with Washington DC’s Beltway politics. Officials said that Sandhu’s experience during the Clinton and Obama administrations will help him navigate the new administration. The Indian Government is looking at “five baskets” of engagement: Strategic, environment, energy and climate change, digital and IT, education and health care.

Biden’s intention to rejoin the WHO and Paris Climate accord is welcomed by India, and it will look towards cooperation in the LNG, renewable and solar energy sectors. Biden has also ended the ‘Muslim travel ban’, which blocked travel to the United States from several predominantly Muslim and African countries. Mexico also welcomed Biden’s decision of the end of the construction of the wall, the immigration initiative in favor of DACA and a path to dual citizenship.

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