Modi to have virtual meeting with Biden on Monday

United States President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would meet virtually on Monday, the first of its kind interaction between the two leaders that would coincide with the maiden India-US 2+2 dialogue under the Biden Administration, the White House said on Sunday.

During the virtual meet, Biden and Modi will discuss cooperation on a range of issues, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, countering the climate crisis, strengthening the global economy, and upholding a free, open, rules-based international order to bolster security, democracy, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

The meeting will further deepen ties between ‘our governments, economies, and our people’, she said.

The two leaders will advance ongoing conversations about the development of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and delivering high-quality infrastructure, Psaki said.

“Biden will continue our close consultations on the consequences of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and mitigating its destabilising impact on global food supply and commodity markets,” she said.

In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs said the two leaders will review ongoing bilateral cooperation and exchange views on recent developments in South Asia, the Indo-Pacific region and global issues of mutual interest.

The US, India and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s aggressive actions in the region.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.

Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

‘The virtual meeting will enable both sides to continue their regular and high-level engagement aimed at further strengthening the bilateral Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership,’ it said in a statement.

Modi and Biden had their first in-person meeting in September last year on the sidelines of the Quad Summit hosted by the US President in Washington.

The virtual meeting between Biden and Modi will precede the US-India 2+2 Ministerial between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on April 11, the White House Press Secretary said.

The 2+2 Dialogue would enable both sides to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India-US bilateral agenda related to foreign policy, defence and security with the objective of providing strategic guidance and vision for further consolidating the relationship, the MEA said in a press release on Thursday.

‘The 2+2 Dialogue will also provide an opportunity to exchange views about important regional and global developments and how we can work together to address issues of common interest and concern,’ it said.

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