Narendra Modi meets Joe Biden, says India-US ties destined to be ‘stronger, tighter’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the relations between India and the United States are destined to be closer and tighter as he met United States President Joe Biden at the White House, NDTV reported.“I thank you for the warm welcome accorded to me and my delegation,” Modi said. “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.”He added: “Relations between India and US are destined to be stronger.”Modi met Biden on the third day of his visit to the United States. He will be in the country till September 25, when he will address the United Nations General Assembly.This was the first time that Modi and Biden met in person after the latter became the US president in January.On February 8, Modi and Biden had agreed to work closely to fight the coronavirus pandemic and renew their partnership on climate change in a telephonic conversation. This was the first telephonic conversation between the two leaders after Biden took office.On Friday, Modi is also slated to take part in the first in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit along with Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.The Quad, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a grouping of India, Australia, the United States and Japan. The four countries first met in November 2017. Countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region is believed to be among the objectives of the grouping. The Quad countries are expected to announce a new working group on space, a supply chain initiative and an effort to deploy and diversify 5G telecommunication networks on Friday, NDTV reported.On Thursday, Modi had met US Vice President Kamala Harris. The two leaders discussed the Covid-19 situation and the recent global developments related to the Afghanistan crisis and the Indo-Pacific region.Modi told Harris that her appointment as the vice president was a historic occasion. “Several people across the world are inspired by you. I am confident India-USA ties will grow further under the leadership of [US President] Joe Biden and you,” the prime minister said, referring to Harris.The two leaders also held talks on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific amid a multinational diplomatic crisis that emerged recently with the region in focus.On September 15, the US, the UK and Australia had announced that their trilateral security pact, dubbed Aukus, for the Indo-Pacific region. In response, France had recalled the country’s ambassadors to Australia and the US.The pact has angered France as Australia entered the alliance by scrapping an earlier submarine deal with the country.On Thursday, Modi also met Yoshihide Suga and Scott Morrison. During his meeting with Suga, Modi “reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region”, an official release from the Prime Minister’s Office said.In his talks with Morrison, the prime minister expressed satisfaction on regular high-level engagements between the two countries, including the recently held first “2+2 Dialogue” between Indian and Australian foreign and defence ministers.