India opposition leader reacts to India ‘refusing’ US media at Biden-Modi talks: ‘Modi-style democracy’
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi meets US president Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, in New Delhi on Friday, September 8, 2023. (ANI Photo)
THE Indian opposition Indian National Congress on Friday (8) alleged that the team of US president Joe Biden has said that despite multiple requests, India has not allowed media to ask questions of him and prime minister Narendra Modi after their bilateral meeting at the latter’s residence in New Delhi the same day.
“President Biden’s team says despite multiple requests India has not allowed media to ask questions of him and Prime Minister Modi after their bilateral meeting,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on X, formerly Twitter.
“President Biden will now take questions in Vietnam on Sept 11th from the media accompanying him. Not surprising at all. This is how democracy is done Modi-style,” Ramesh, a former federal minister and senior parliamentarian, said.
The White House said prior to Biden’s arrival in India that his administration had repeatedly requested for increased media access for the bilateral talks between Biden and Modi on Friday but New Delhi turned them down. No press conference was held after the meeting.
The White House also said that India rejected America’s requests to throw in a ‘press pool spray’, an arrangement common when the US president hosts foreign leader at home.
Since taking over the office in 2014, Modi has been criticised all over for avoiding taking questions from the press. Barring occasional interviews, he has not held a single press conference in nearly a decade.
Biden, Modi express confidence
Biden and Modi also exuded confidence that the outcomes of the G20 summit starting Saturday (9) will advance the shared goals of accelerating sustainable development, bolstering multilateral cooperation and building consensus around inclusive economic policies to address greatest global challenges.
In their over 50-minute talks, the two leaders vowed to “deepen and diversify” the bilateral major defence partnership while welcoming the forward movement in India’s procurement of 31 drones and joint development of jet engines.
The two leaders also deliberated on cooperation in nuclear energy, critical and emerging technologies such as 6G and artificial intelligence, and ways to fundamentally reshape multilateral development banks.
A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said Biden lauded India’s G20 presidency for further “demonstrating” how the G20 as a forum is delivering important outcomes.
His comments came a day before the leaders of the Group of 20 large economies are set to hold deliberations on pressing global challenges and ways to deal with them at the bloc’s annual summit in New Delhi.
(With PTI inputs)