NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the White House to meet US President Joe Biden for his first bilateral meeting. Both hailed India-US ties and said they looked forward to begining a ‘new chapter’. They are expected to discuss a wide range of priority issues, including combating Covid-19 and climate change, economic cooperation as well as Afghanistan. While the two leaders have met earlier when Biden was the Vice President of the country, this is for the first time that Biden will be meeting Modi after he became the 46th president of the US in January. After Biden’s inauguration, the two leaders have spoken over the phone multiple times and have attended a few virtual summits, including that of the Quad in March hosted by the US president.
President Biden is looking forward to his bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi in the Oval Office on Friday morning, ahead of the QUAD summit (later in the day), said a senior administration official familiar with the preparations of the maiden Biden-Modi summit. We will cover a number of priority issues that India is really, front and centre. including pandemic response, their response to climate change; we’ll talk about technology issues, economic cooperation and trade as well as Afghanistan, said the senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. After the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, India has been saying that its focus was to ensure that the war-torn country’s soil is not used for terrorist activities against it.
A ministerial meeting of the India-France-Australia trilateral grouping scheduled on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session will not be held now. A report in Times of India stated that the cancellation came due to AUKUS — a trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and the US that has left Paris “fuming”..