Modi and Kamala discuss Indo-Pacific, Pakistan, Covid and democracy

1-3.jpg

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US Vice President Kamala Harris deliver a joint statement, in Washington DC on Friday. (ANI)

US Vice President Kamala Harris says it is imperative that India and the US defend democratic principles within their respective countries and around the world

Our Bureau
Washington, DC

Pointing out similar values and geopolitical interests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that India and the US are “natural partners” and asserted that coordination and cooperation between both countries were also increasing.

PM Modi’s remarks came in a joint press conference with US Vice President Kamala Harris ahead of the delegation-level talks. “India and America being the largest and oldest democracy are natural partners. We have similar values, geopolitical interests, and our coordination and cooperation is also increasing. Strengthening supply chain, new emerging technologies, and space, are areas of special interest to you. For me, these areas are of priority. In these areas, our cooperation is important,” he said.

“India and the US have very vibrant and strong people to people connections. More than 4 million people of Indian origin, the Indian community is a bridge between two countries, a bridge of two countries and their contribution to economies and societies of both our countries are indeed praiseworthy,” the Prime Minister added.

This was PM Modi’s first in-person meeting with Harris after she made history by becoming the first Indian-origin person to become the Vice President of America.

PM Modi, who is on a 3-day US visit, expressed his gratitude to the US for extending help when the country was hit by the second wave of COVID-19 earlier this year.

“I extend my gratitude for the warm welcome that you have extended to me and my delegation. Some months ago, we had the opportunity to talk to each other over the phone. We had a detailed discussion at that time. The way you spoke to me so warmly and naturally. I will always remember that,” he said.

“It was a very difficult time when India was hit by the second wave of COVID-19. The way you expressed concern and extended a helping hand, I express my gratitude to you. I will like to thank you,” he added.

Speaking further, the Prime Minister said, “Like a true friend, you had given a message of cooperation and it was full of sensitivity. Immediately after that, we found that the US government, US corporate sector and Indian community all came together to help India.”

Noting that democracies around the world are under threat, US Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday said it is imperative that India and the US defend democratic principles and institutions within their respective countries and around the world.

Harris made the remarks during her joint statement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “As democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world and that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home. And it is incumbent on our nations, of course, to protect democracies in the best interest of the people of our countries,” she said.

PM Modi, who is on a three-day visit to the US, held a first in-person meeting with the Indian origin US Vice President.

“India is a very important partner to the US. We had COVID-19, the kind of crisis and importance of our shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific region. On COVID-19, our nations have worked together. Early in the pandemic, India was a vital source of vaccines for other countries,” Harris said.

She recalled the US’ assistance to India during the surge of COVID-19 in the country. “When India experienced the surge of COVID in the country, the United States was proud to support India in its need and its responsibility to vaccinate its people,” she added.

Harris welcomed New Delhi’s announcement that it will soon be able to resume exports of COVID-19 vaccines.

She also lauded India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.”I welcome India’s announcement that it will soon be able to resume vaccine exports. It is particular note and admiration that India is currently vaccinating approximately 10 million people a day as of today,” Harris said.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that discussions between the two leaders were “substantive and they lasted over an hour”.

During her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US Vice President Kamala Harris “suo moto” referred to Pakistan’s role with regard to terrorism and agreed on the need to rein-in and closely monitor Islamabad support for terror groups, informed Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla.

Harris acknowledged the presence of terror groups in Pakistan, said Shringla when asked whether the issue of Pakistan emboldening Taliban came up during the discussion between PM Modi and the US Vice President. “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 there were terror groups working there. She asked Pakistan to take action so that these groups do not impact on US security and that of India,” the Foreign Secretary said during a special briefing.

Shringla apprised that Harris agreed with the Prime Minister’s briefing on the fact of cross-border terrorism and the fact that India has been a victim of terrorism for several decades now.

“She agreed with Prime Minister’s briefing on the fact of cross-border terrorism and the fact that India has been a victim of terrorism several decades now and the need to rein in and closely monitor Pakistan’s support for such terror groups,” he added.

Pakistan has been accused of providing overt and covert support to the Taliban. Early this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that Pakistan has “harboured” members of the Taliban including the terrorists.

PM Modi, who is in the US for a three-day visit, met Harris earlier in the day. Shringla said that discussions between the two leaders were “substantive and they lasted over an hour”.

“The meeting reflected warmth and cordiality. Discussions covered a number of areas which included COVID-19, climate change, the issue of terrorism, cooperation in the technology sector including cooperation in cyber security, space etc,” Shringla said.

Modi and Kamala Harris had a “warm” meeting during which they exchanged views on recent global developments, including in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

Speaking at the special briefing, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Prime Minister Modi and Vice President Harris appreciated India-US bilateral relationship. The Foreign Secretary also informed that Vice President Harris noted that India had made a very very swift recovery from the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic

“Prime Minister had a bilateral meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris. This was the Prime Minister’s first formal interaction with the Vice President. He had earlier spoken to her on the telephone. And the meeting which was the first in-person meeting was warm and focused on several substantive issues of discussion,” he said.

“Both Prime Minister and Vice President appreciated India US bilateral relationship,” he added.

According to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, Harris and PM Modi expressed happiness at their first in-person meeting.

“They warmly recalled their telephone conversation earlier in June 2021. They exchanged views on recent global developments, including in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” the statement read. “The two leaders discussed the COVID-19 situation in their respective countries, including ongoing efforts to contain the pandemic through expedited vaccination efforts, and ensuring supply of critical medicines, therapeutics and healthcare equipment,” the statement added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

scroll to top