New Delhi, Sept 8 (EFE). – The President of the United States, Joe Biden, and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on Friday strengthened ties between the two nations in defense, technology, and space during a 50-minute closed-door meeting.
The meeting occurred at Modi’s official residence on Friday, ahead of the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi over the weekend.
While Biden and Modi met, journalists had to wait outside the official residence in vans. They were not allowed access to the meeting, which is unusual as the press is usually allowed to witness the beginning of meetings between leaders.
After the meeting, the White House issued a joint statement in which both leaders pledged to continue cooperation in technology, space, and defense.
The latter is essential to Washington because Russia has historically been India’s leading supplier of military equipment.
Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the progress made since their last meeting at the White House in June.
Biden and Modi welcomed the start of negotiations between General Electric and India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to produce fighter jet engines in the Asian country.
They also discussed progress made in recent weeks on India’s $3 billion purchase of 31 advanced American-made “MQ” drones.
The two leaders also pledged to cooperate on developing 5G and 6G networks, as well as space, artificial intelligence, and quantum technology.
During the meeting, Biden took the opportunity to congratulate Modi on the success of India’s space mission, which in August successfully reached the lunar south pole. This previously unexplored region could contain water.
On trade, the two leaders agreed to resolve the dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over tariffs imposed by India on American products such as blueberries and turkey, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a separate statement.
NO MENTION OF UKRAINE
The meeting’s official statement did not mention the war in Ukraine, which has caused tension between the U.S. and India, as the Modi government has been purchasing Russian oil at lower prices since the war began, while the West has been reducing its imports.
Despite these tensions in the bilateral relationship, the meeting took place in an atmosphere of “undeniable warmth and trust” between the two leaders, said Kurt Campbell, Biden’s Asia-Pacific adviser, speaking to journalists after the meeting.
According to Campbell, one of Biden’s foreign policy priorities is strengthening ties with India, the world’s most populous country, fifth largest economy, and fastest growing economy in the G20.
Of great importance is India’s role as a representative of the “global south,” which Biden sees as an opportunity for the United States to build ties with the developing world, Campbell said.
Another critical issue is the relationship with China, which Biden sees as the most crucial challenge for U.S. foreign policy, and with which India has had its tensions, including border clashes in 2020 that seriously deteriorated relations between the two neighbors.
In this context, the two leaders reaffirmed in their final statement their commitment to the Quad security alliance, which was formed in 2007 to counterbalance China and includes the United States, India, Australia, and Japan.