On second day of US visit, PM Modi to meet President Biden
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet US President Joe Biden on Friday during his packed three-day trip to the United States and the two leaders are expected to discuss the situation in Afghanistan at length along with other bilateral issues. This will be his first meeting with Biden after he became the US President in January this year. Before this, PM Modi met Biden on his first visit to the US as the prime minister in 2014. Biden was the vice president at the time in the administration of president Barack Obama. Both leaders have spoken on multiple occasions after Biden, a Democrat, became US president in January.
On Thursday, PM Modi met Kamala Harris and praised the US vice president referring to her as an "inspiration," a leader who is like "family" and called her a "real friend" who has had India's back during the Covid-19 crisis. "The oldest democracy and the largest democracy...we are indeed natural partners, we have similar values," Modi said.
Modi on Thursday also met the chief executives of Qualcomm, Blackstone, Adobe, First Solar and General Atomics.
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PM Modi also met Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday, which Morrison said was "productive" and that both leaders look to further deepen the partnership between the two countries. "Great to meet with my good friend and a great friend of Australia, Indian PM Narendra Modi, during my visit to the US. A wide-ranging and productive discussion ahead of the first in-person Quad meeting as we look to further deepen the partnership between our two countries," Morrison tweeted.
PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga had a "fruitful" meeting in Washington wherein they discussed several issues including ways to give further impetus to trade and cultural ties. "Furthering friendship with Japan. Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @sugawitter had a fruitful meeting in Washington DC. Both leaders held discussions on several issues including ways to give further impetus to trade and cultural ties," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted.
This was also PM Modi's first in-person meeting with Suga after the latter took over the reins from Shinzo Abe in September last year.
A first in-person meeting of the leaders of the Quad group of countries - the United States, Japan, Australia and India - on Friday will yield progress in several areas including infrastructure, health and cyber, a senior U.S administration official told Reuters.
Biden and Modi will also hold a "Quad" summit with the leaders of Australia and Japan, aiming to boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region amid China's growing dominance in the area. The ministry of external affairs (MEA) had said in a statement on September 14 that the leaders will review progress made since their first virtual summit on March 12 and discuss regional issues of shared interests.
PM Modi, Biden, Suga and Morrison will also discuss regional security, a senior US administration official told Reuters on Thursday, although he stressed that security was not the focus of the informal grouping that has come together in response to China's growing power. The official told Reuters that the first in-person meeting of the leaders of the Quad group of countries will yield progress in several areas including infrastructure, health and cyber. The official did not provide specific details about the meeting but said the summit at the White House "will have much to say" about the next steps on vaccines for the Indo-Pacific region.
"We have what we call deliverables in infrastructure, on broader health engagements on science and technology on the space, on cyber," he said. "Obviously, there have been challenges in India over the course of the summer. But ... we believe that it will be important to meet the ambitions that we laid out at that time,” the official was quoted as saying by Reuters.
According to Reuters, the US official called Friday's meeting "historic," and an opportunity for the four leaders to talk openly about "modern challenges, their hopes and aspirations." "We'll talk about a variety of things, including regional security, but we'll also talk about our goals on education, on infrastructure," he said.
The Quad summit comes just over a week after the US, the UK and Australia announced a security pact dubbed AUKUS that will help Australia acquire US nuclear-powered submarines, a move immediately denounced by China.
PM Modi's US visit will end on September 25 with an address at the United Nations General Assembly focusing on the pressing global challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to combat terrorism, climate change and other important issues.
This is Prime Minister Modi's first visit abroad beyond the neighbourhood since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. PM Modi is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and senior officials. The last time Prime Minister Modi visited the US was in September 2019 when he and then US president Donald Trump, a Republican, addressed the high-profile Howdy-Modi event in Houston.