Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with US president Joe Biden at the White House in Washington DC on Friday, September 24, 2021. (ANI Photo)
INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Friday (24) met US president Joe Biden at the White House in what was their first in-person meeting since the Democratic leader took office in January. Biden is overall the third American president who Modi has met while serving as the prime minister, after Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Ahead of his meeting, Biden said he was looking forward to strengthening deep ties between the US and India. In a tweet, Biden said, “This morning I’m hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House for a bilateral meeting. I look forward to strengthening the deep ties between our two nations, working to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, and tackling everything from COVID-19 to climate change.”
This morning I’m hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House for a bilateral meeting. I look forward to strengthening the deep ties between our two nations, working to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, and tackling everything from COVID-19 to climate change.
Modi, who reached in Washington DC on Thursday (23) and met some of the US’ top corporate leaders and US vice president Kamala Harris, said Biden is taking initiatives to implement his vision for relations between the two democracies.
Thanking Biden for the warm welcome accorded to him and the Indian delegation at the White House, Modi said, “I thank you for the warm welcome accorded to me and my delegation. Earlier, we had an opportunity to hold discussions and at that time you had laid out the vision for India-US bilateral relations. Today, you are taking initiatives to implement your vision for India-US relations.”
‘Destined to be stronger, closer tighter’
Biden said during the meeting that the relationship between India and the US is destined to be “stronger, closer and tighter”.
“I think that the relationship between India and the United States, the largest democracies in the world, is destined to be stronger, closer and tighter, and I believe it can benefit the whole world,” Biden said.
The duo then discussed a wide range of issues, including combating Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and economic cooperation between them. Modi, who is visiting the US for the seventh time since becoming the prime minister in 2014, called the bilateral summit with the American president as important as they are meeting at the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century.
Modi, Biden remember Mahatma Gandhi
Both the leaders remembered Mahatma Gandhi whose birthday is on October 2. Modi said he and Biden spoke about the values that the legendary leader had taught.
“Mahatma Gandhi always used to say about trusteeship of the Planet. This sentiment of trusteeship is the need of the hour globally,” he said.
“President Biden mentioned Gandhi ji’s Jayanti. Gandhi ji spoke about Trusteeship, a concept which is very important for our planet in the times to come,” Modi said. Biden said, “We will be celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday next week. We are reminded of his message of non-violence.”
Biden also said during the meeting that India and the US are launching a fresh chapter in their historical ties and taking on some of toughest challenges.
“Launching a new chapter in the history of India US ties, taking on some of the toughest challenges we face together, starting with a shared commitment,” he said.
During the discussion, Biden said that “Prime Minister [Modi] and I will be talking today about what more we can do to fight COVID-19 and take on the climate challenges that the world face, and ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific, including with our partners.”
“I’ve long believed that the US-India relationship can help us solve global challenges,” the Democrat said.
In his remarks, Modi said that technology is becoming a driving force. “We have to utilise our talents to leverage technology for the greater global good,” he said.
Modi later said in a tweet, “Had an outstanding meeting with @[email protected] His leadership on critical global issues is commendable. We discussed how India and USA will further scale-up cooperation in different spheres and work together to overcome key challenges like COVID-19 and climate change.”
Had an outstanding meeting with @POTUS@JoeBiden. His leadership on critical global issues is commendable. We discussed how India and USA will further scale-up cooperation in different spheres and work together to overcome key challenges like COVID-19 and climate change. pic.twitter.com/nnSVE5OSdL
India and the US have stressed on the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership between them. They have also vowed to exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest. The Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership between the two countries is based in “mutual trust, shared interests, goodwill and robust engagement of their citizens” and covers various areas, including trade and defence.
The two countries also have strategic convergence on Indo-Pacific.
Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the Indian ministry of external affairs, tweeted, “A Partnership of Trust-globally we will make a difference! Vibrant discussions between PM @narendramodi & @POTUS Joseph Biden on global, regional & bilateral issues. An expansive agenda including defence, security, health, education, trade, IT, economic, S&T, energy & P2P ties.”
A Partnership of Trust-globally we will make a difference! Vibrant discussions between PM @narendramodi & @POTUS Joseph Biden on global, regional & bilateral issues. An expansive agenda including defence, security, health, education, trade, IT, economic, S&T, energy & P2P ties. https://t.co/ylQwOPlMD8
The first meeting between Modi and Biden, which takes place in the wake of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, showed once again that the ties between the two nations are ever strengthening.
The frequency of high-level visits between India and the US has gone up significantly of late. Modi last visited the US in 2019 and former president Donald Trump visited India in 2020. The two countries have also held 2+2 ministerial dialogue.
Since January, Modi and Biden have participated in three virtual summits this year — the Quad virtual summit in March, the Climate Change Summit in April and the G7 Summit in June.
The bilateral meeting between Modi and Biden was set to be followed by the Quad summit involving the prime ministers of Australia and Japan.
Modi signs visitor’s book
Registering the spirit of the friendship between the two nations in ink, Modi signed the visitors’ book in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
“Prime Minister @narendramodi signs the visitor book in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Registering the spirit of US-India friendship in ink,” External Affairs Baghchi tweeted with a picture of Modi signing the book.