G20: US president Biden reaches New Delhi, to have ‘press-less’ meet with Modi
The American leader was set to meet the Indian prime minister over a bilateral meeting on Friday, ahead of the G20 summit kicking off on Saturday.
US president Joe Biden arrives at the airport ahead of the G20 summit scheduled for September 9–10, 2023, in New Delhi on Friday, September 8, 2023. (ANI Photo)
US PRESIDENT Joe Biden landed in New Delhi, India, on Friday (8) to take part in a two-day G20 summit. This is his first visit to the south Asian nation since he took over the Oval Office in January 2021. Biden was received by Indian minister of state for civil aviation VK Singh. First lady Jill Biden could not accompany the president since she tested Covid positive.
The president is not “aiming to paper” over divisions among the leading economies during his stay in the Indian capital but hopes to convince a polarised world that Washington remains a committed partner with an eye toward countering China, CNN reported.
Biden, who left for India on Thursday (7), regretted that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would not be present at the summit in Delhi but added that he was going to “get to see him”.
The 80-year-old president’s visit to India also comes at a time when his popularity is not at its best. A CNN survey released on the day of his departure suggested that two-thirds of the Democrat-leaning voters do not want him to run for a re-election in 2024.
However, his aides believe that Biden’s global actions can help in providing a contrast to the opponent Republicans. At the G20 summit, Biden looks to present arguments that the US can prove to be a better partner for the developing nations instead of China. The absence of Xi may give him enough space and time to assert his case.
Analysing Biden’s India visit, a report by CNN said, “He isn’t arriving empty handed. He comes armed with proposals to reform and step up investments in the World Bank, leveraging US funds to free up hundreds of billions of dollars in new grants and loans for the developing world.”
The White House said that such steps were not aimed at countering China.
On his arrival in India, Biden will have a one-on-one meeting with prime minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s residence.
However, while the two nations have time and again reiterated their good relations, the American side still has concerns over Modi’s human rights record, including restrictions on the press freedom.
During Biden’s flight to New Delhi, officials aboard Air Force One said New Delhi had rebuffed Washington’s request for any press access to the meeting between him and Modi.
This happens less than three months after Modi was asked a question about alleged discrimination against India’s religious minorities by a US journalist during his state visit to Washington.