Biden, Modi discuss Indo-Pacific, climate change and Covid

Joe Biden receives Narendra Modi in the Oval Office of the White House. — ANI
Joe Biden receives Narendra Modi in the Oval Office of the White House. — ANI

Washington - The US President says the Indo-US relationship is destined to be stronger, closer and tighter


Published: Fri 24 Sep 2021, 11:24 PM

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday described as “outstanding” his first bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden who said the Indo-US relationship is destined to be “stronger, closer and tighter”.

The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including combating Covid-19, climate change, trade and the Indo-Pacific. Biden, who welcomed Modi in the Oval Office of the White House, said that today they are starting a new chapter in US-India relationship.

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Observing that he has long believed that the US, India relationship can help them solve global challenges, Biden in his opening remarks before a battery of India and American media said they are now “launching a new chapter in history of India-US ties, taking on some of the toughest challenges we face together.”

And this starts with a shared commitment to end Covid-19, he said.

Modi, who is visiting the US for the 7th time after assuming office in 2014, described Friday’s bilateral meeting with Biden that lasted more than 60 minutes as “important” as they’re meeting at the start of the third decade of this century.

“Your leadership will certainly play an important role in how this decade is shaped. The seeds have been sown for an even stronger friendship between India and the US,” he told Biden.

“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,” Modi tweeted after the meeting.

Biden said the relationship between India and the US, the largest democracies in the world, is “destined to be stronger, closer and tighter”.

“I’ve long believed that the US-India relationship can help us solve a lot of global challenges. In fact, back in 2006, I had said that by 2020 India and the US will be among the closest nations in the world,” Biden told Modi.

“Today, we’re launching a new chapter in the history of US-India ties, taking on some of the toughest challenges we face together, starting with a shared commitment,” he said.

Biden said he and Modi would talk about what more they can do to fight Covid-19, take on the climate challenge that the world face, and ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific, including with their quiet partners.

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.

“Of course, our partnership is more than just what we do. It’s about who we are in our shared responsibility to uphold democratic values, our joint commitment to diversity, and it’s about family ties, including four million Indian-Americans make the United States, stronger every single day,” he said.

Noting that the world would celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday next week, Biden said: “We’re all reminded that his message of non-violence, respect, tolerance, matters today maybe more than ever had.”

On this, Modi said: “Gandhi Ji spoke about trusteeship, a concept which is very important for our planet in the times to come.”

Noting that trade will be an important factor in the Indo-US ties in the coming decade, the prime minister said that there is much to be done in the area.

Modi said this decade will be shaped by talent and people-to-people linkages. “I am glad the Indian diaspora is making an active contribution towards the US’ progress.”

He said that technology is becoming a driving force. “We have to utilise our talents to leverage technology for greater global good.”

Modi recalled his interactions with Biden in 2014 and 2016, saying “that time you had shared your vision for ties between India and US. I am glad to see you are working to realise this vision”.

He said that each of the subjects mentioned by the president are crucial for the India-US friendship. “His efforts on Covid-19, mitigating climate change and the Quad are noteworthy,” Modi added.

“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,” President Biden had tweeted minutes before the meeting.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi said that India US relationship is a partnership of trust. “Globally we will make a difference!” he tweeted.

Modi also signed the visitor book in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “Registering the spirit of India United States friendship in ink,” the spokesperson tweeted.

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