Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden held their first in-person bilateral meeting on Friday, with both leaders emphasising that the relationship between their two nations is set to get stronger and closer.
In remarks to the media ahead of their bilateral meeting, President Biden said: “I think the relationship between the US and India, we are the biggest democracies, is destined to be stronger, closer and tighter, and I believe it can benefit the whole world.”
“Today we’re launching a new chapter in the history of US-Indian ties and taking on some of the toughest challenges we face together, starting with a shared commitment to ending the Covid pandemic,” said Biden.
“I’ve long believed that the US-India relationship can help us solve global challenges,” he said.
He said the two nations are beginning a new chapter in ties, and in combatting Covid-19. “We will discuss what all we can do to fight Covid-19, and fight climate change, and on the Indo-Pacific, how to make it more secure, including with our Quad partners.”
He said the partnership between the two countries “is about our shared responsibility to democratic values, our joint commitment to diversity and family ties”.
He said the four million Indian Americans have contributed to making the US stronger and prosperous.
Referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2, he said his message of non-violence and tolerance has more relevance today than earlier.
Prime Minister Modi, in his remarks, said Biden during their meetings in 2014 and 2016 had laid out a vision for India-US relationship in great detail. “And really, that was a vision that was inspirational,” he said, adding that as President “you are making all efforts and taking initiatives to implement that vision.”
PM Modi said “I find that under your leadership the seeds have been sown for the Indo-US relations to expand, and for all democratic countries in the world, this is going to be a transformative period. I can see that very clearly.”
Referring to the Indian-American community, PM Modi said: “When I look at the importance of this decade, and the role that is going to be played by this talent of the Indian Americans, I find that the people-to-people talent will play a greater role and Indian talent will be a full partner in this relationship. And I see that your contribution is going to be very important in this.”
He also said that technology is going to be the most important driving force in the world and that opportunities for this are going to be tremendous.
Referring to trade, he said that the bilateral trade will continue to grow in importance. He said the trade between the two countries is complimentary. “There are things that you have and there are things that we have, and then we in fact complement each other. I find that the area of trade during this decade, that is also going to be tremendously important.”
On President Biden’s reference to Mahatma Gandhi, PM Modi said that Gandhi always used to talk about the principle of trusteeship of the planet. “It means that the planet that we have, we have to bequeath it to the following generations, and this sentiment of trusteeship is going to assume more and more importance globally, and also between the relations between India and the United States”.
He said President Biden after assuming charge has taken very unique initiatives, whether in the field of COVID-19, climate change, or even the QUAD.
“I am absolutely convinced that under your leadership, whatever we do, it will be extremely relevant for the entire world,” PM Modi said.