Modi-Biden summit will strengthen India-US ties: White House

Modi also expected to meet Indian American VP Kamala Harris for the first time when Biden hosts him on Friday

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first in-person meeting with President Joe Biden on Friday will take the relationship between the two countries from strength to strength, according to the White House.

Modi is also expected to meet Vice-President Kamala Harris for the first time though he has spoken to the Indian American leader on phone after she assumed the second highest office in the US in January.

Modi has met Biden before on his first visit to the US as prime minister in 2014. Joe Biden was vice-president at the time, in the administration of President Barack Obama.

The two leaders have spoken virtually on multiple occasions since Biden became President. Their last telephonic conversation took place on April 26.

Later that day Biden hosts the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit at the White House with Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Modi-Biden meeting will be an opportunity to go from strength to strength, from the point of view of the partnership with India, a senior administration official said Monday previewing the meeting.

Read: All eyes on the Quad summit and Modi-Biden meeting (September 20, 2021)

This can be done by working together to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, by taking steps to contribute to a global solution to the Covid-19 pandemic and by taking concerted action to address the climate crisis, he said.

“So, the bilateral discussion between the US and India will help reinforce and give momentum to the Quad discussion because many of the topics are very much interrelated,” the official said.

The meeting will also give the two leaders an “opportunity to talk about counter-terrorism, the Afghanistan situation and how we can work together to fight terrorism, our common enemy,” he said.

They would also talk “about a range of regional issues and developments where we’ll have the opportunity to compare notes,” the official said.

Noting that India-US relationship goes so much deeper than just a government-to-government relationship,” he said, “”It is a relationship between the two peoples.”

“I think Prime Minister Modi and President Biden want to talk about the ways of pulling our countries even closer together at basically every level of interaction between our societies,” added the official.

“The leaders will be focused on strengthening the deep ties between their people and shared democratic values that have underpinned the special bond between the US and India for more than seven decades,” a White House official said.

“The Biden-Harris administration has enhanced our partnership with India by working together to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, leading efforts to end the Covid-19 pandemic, and taking concerted action to address the climate crisis,” the official said.

After the Quad summit, Modi will leave for New York where he will address the UN General Assembly on Saturday as the first speaker of the day.

Modi last addressed the UNGA in-person in 2019 as the 2020 meetings were held virtually amidst a raging Covid-19 pandemic that had hit New York state and city the hardest in the US.

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