Sun, 17 Oct 2021

Washington [US] September 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden and take part in the first in-person summit meeting of Quad leaders on the second day of his significant visit to the US.

The meeting between PM Modi and the US president will set the template for further strengthening of bilateral ties. This will be the first meeting between the two leaders since Biden became the US President in January this year.

The two leaders are expected to review progress in the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership which is anchored in mutual trust, shared interests, goodwill and robust engagement of their citizens.

The meeting comes in the background of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the two leaders will discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest.

The Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership covers a wide gamut of areas including trade and defence. The two countries also have strategic convergence on Indo-Pacific.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is in the US and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval besides senior officials are part of the Prime Minister's delegation.

Since January, PM Modi and Biden have participated in three summits, all of which were virtual. Two of them were hosted by President Biden - the Quad virtual summit in March and the Climate Change Summit in April. PM Modi also virtually took part in the G7 Summit held at Cornwall in the UK in June this year.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister held bilateral meetings with United States Vice President Kamala Harris and Prime Ministers of Australia and Japan.

He also met the CEOs of five major US corporates. The United States is India's single largest trading partner and a source of foreign direct investments.

Briefing reporters, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that during their meeting, both PM Modi and the US Vice President appreciated the relationship which they felt was on a strong footing given the shared values, common interest in growing strategic convergence. They exchanged views on recent regional developments of mutual interest and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

The discussions also included efforts to contain COVID-19, future areas of collaboration including space co-operation, information technology, emerging and critical technologies and cooperation in the healthcare sector.

Shringla said the discussions covered a number of areas which included Covid-19, climate change, the issue of terrorism and cooperation in the technology sector, including cooperation in cyber security and space.

"In that context, when the issue of terrorism came up, the Vice President suo moto referred to Pakistan's role in that regard. She said that they were terror groups that were working there. She asked Pakistan to take action so that these groups do not impact on US security and that of India" he said.

The Foreign Secretary said the US Vice President agreed with the Prime Minister's briefing on the fact of cross-border terrorism and the fact that India had been a victim of terrorism for several decades and the need to rein in and closely monitor Pakistan's support for such terrorist groups.

PM Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reviewed progress since the last Leader's Summit held virtually in June 2020 and resolved to continue their close partnership and cooperation for the mutual well-being of both sides.

Answering a query, Shringla said Prime Minister Morrison did briefly mention the rationale from the Australian side in seeking to initiate the AUKUS alliance. He felt that the technology that they received was appropriate and there was a brief discussion in that regard.

PM Modi and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga exchanged views on recent global developments including Afghanistan. They also reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open inclusive Indo-Pacific region. They agreed to enhance bilateral, security and defence cooperation, including the areas of defence equipment and technologies.

The launch of the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative between India, Japan and Australia was welcomed.

The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to advance efforts to facilitate the smooth and timely implementation of the Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project.

This is PM Modi's first visit outside the neighbourhood since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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