Now that Joe Biden has been nominated the Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, and is all set to take on President Donald Trump, the question uppermost on the minds of foreign policy observers in India is which way India-US relations will be headed post 3 November, once the election results are announced. In case Biden emerges victorious—there is a possibility of that happening—will there be continuity of Trump’s policies, in terms of clearly identifying China as the biggest threat to the civilized world? This is important, for in identifying this “half the battle” is won, something India’s foreign policy mandarins are yet to do, in spite of China proving to be the eternal thorn on India’s side. The rest of the policy, including the focus on the Indo-Pacific is likely to flow from there, as has been the case with the Donald Trump administration. There is cause for concern regarding this as Biden’s foreign policy focus seems to have been on the Atlantic and the Nato, with Russia as the centre of the geopolitical pivot, when the balance of power has clearly shifted to the Indo-Pacific and China. In fact, it is said that even President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” was half-hearted and US’ engagement with China continued in the hope that it would make China a responsible power. But that was not to be and in this respect 2012 proved to be a watershed year for the world, as it was in 2012 that Xi Jinping became the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and subsequently, in 2013 the President of China. Over the course of the next eight years, he has not only established his firm control on the CCP and the government and military but has also got himself anointed as the “President for Life”. And now that the gloves are off, the world is witnessing with shock a revanchist, malign power trying to upset the global order by browbeating smaller nations into submission, using aggression to try and make examples out of neighbours, trying to undermine democracies in an attempt to justify to its own people authoritarianism as the best form of governance, and so on and so forth. Competing with the US for superpower status would have been legitimate, but for the singular lack of moral compass at the heart of the Chinese bid to be numero uno. After all, till date the CCP has not been able to prove that it did not unleash the coronavirus on an unsuspecting world by deliberately suppressing information—in an apparent bid to bring parity between itself and the US, by wrecking the economy of the US and the rest of the world. Whatever John Bolton might have written about President Trump trying to cut a deal with the Chinese to ensure he gets re-elected, leaving aside the bit about Trump’s instinct for self-preservation, the fact is the incumbent US President must be commended for clearly identifying China as a clear and present danger and formulating his policies to counter that threat. In a world that has been ravaged by the coronavirus, the global mood has decidedly turned against China. In the US too, public mood is such that no President can afford to befriend China and get away with it; only the tone and tenor may vary between whoever is President. In short, China is forcing the world towards a bipolar construct of US vs China. Multipolarities work inside that bipolarity. The US realises this. But does India? It is surprising that at a time when both contenders to the US President’s post, one of them a sitting President, are clearly siding with India against China, are talking about a defining partnership with India, at a time when China’s aggression against India is inviting bipartisan condemnation in the US Congress, at such a time, mandarins are still speaking in terms of “non alignment”, now known as “multipolarity”. In this multipolar world view of India’s foreign policy establishment, Russia still has primacy, even though its closeness to China—either out of compulsion or by choice—should have raised several red flags by now. Also some are still hoping that China will realise the potential of a robust India-China relationship and mend its ways—something that has not happened in 70 years, and is unlikely to happen in the next 70. And even it happens in the future, the present is all about the threat that Chinese expansionism poses to the world—to India specifically. This is not the time to stay “non aligned”. Being in the US bloc does not mean sacrificing India’s “strategic autonomy” and becoming a US satellite. The aim should be a robust partnership with the US, with an adequate amount of give and take. The Indo-Pacific plays an important role in this partnership. This is the region where the focus will be in the foreseeable future, whoever be the next US President, Trump or Biden. Hence, India will have to decide on a de facto alliance with the US, post November, whoever might be the next US President.