US President Joe Biden is receiving criticism from many groups for describing India and Japan as “xenophobic” because they do not desire an influx of immigrants. This has raised concerns about a possible diplomatic mistake, considering the United States’ enhanced relations with these Asian countries as part of its strategy to counter China.

Xenophobia refers to the fear, dislike, or prejudice against people from other countries or cultures. It involves displaying hostility or discrimination towards individuals based on their foreign nationality or perceived foreignness.

Biden made these comments during a campaign fundraising event in Washington, primarily attended by Asian-Americans. It is noteworthy that these remarks followed his recent hosting of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a state visit to the White House. Biden expressed that one of the contributing factors to the growth of the economy is the presence of immigrants, including the audience and many others. He emphasized that their contributions are valued and appreciated, highlighting the positive impact of welcoming immigrants.

In his remarks, Biden grouped both adversaries and allies, stating that China, Japan, India, and Russia were encountering economic challenges due to their “xenophobic” attitudes. He suggested that their reluctance towards embracing immigrants was a contributing factor to their economic difficulties.

He stated that they have a lack of desire for immigrants. The Japanese and Indian embassies in Washington have not yet provided a comment in response to the request, and there has been no official statement from either country regarding the matter. The comments made by Biden received significant attention on Indian news programs, where influential journalists offered critical responses to his remarks.

The Japan times, a news publication in Tokyo, also covered Biden’s comments, noting that Japan is gradually opening its doors to more immigrants due to its aging and shrinking population. In December 2023, the number of foreign residents in Japan reached a record high, accounting for approximately 2.7 percent of the total population.

Overall, these reports shed light on the reactions and demographic situations in India and Japan in response to President Biden’s remarks. Biden’s comments received criticism from American defense and foreign policy analysts as well. Elbridge Colby, a former Pentagon official under President Donald Trump, emphasized the importance of speaking respectfully about Japan and India, as they are strong and crucial allies.

Ezra Cohen, an adjunct fellow at the conservative think tank Hudson Institute, expressed concern that insulting these key allies would undermine American security. Bill Drexel, an expert on the Indo-Pacific region at the non-partisan think tank Centre for a New American Security, deemed the remarks unnecessary and counterproductive. Cleo Paskal, a non-resident senior fellow at the think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, acknowledged that she didn’t believe Biden’s comments would have a significant impact on the complex and interconnected relationships between countries. However, she noted that it could potentially affect how President Biden himself is perceived. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, stated that Biden intended to emphasize that the United States is a nation built on immigration, which is ingrained in its identity. She described the remarks as a broad statement. John Kirby, the national security spokesman at the White House, clarified that Biden did not intend to insult other countries. He emphasized that officials in India and Japan were likely aware that there was no ill intent behind the comments.

Both Tokyo and New Delhi are important partners of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region and are members of the Quad, an informal security alliance led by the US aimed at addressing Beijing’s influence in this strategically significant area. Apart from this Indo-Pacific factor, President Biden’s remarks are sure to adversely hit his Presidential poll campaign against his rival Donald Trump. Even among the supporters of Democratic Party, there is resentment against open immigration. Now Trump will intensify his campaign by terming the President Biden as the promoter of infiltrators by making use of his remarks on Japan and India.

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