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Saturday, July 02, 2022

Biden to Modi: Thank you for your commitment to make democracies deliver

“There’s so much that our countries can and will do together, and I am committed to making the US-India partnership among the closest we have on Earth,” Biden said as the bilateral began.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
Updated: May 25, 2022 7:44:47 am
US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Setting aside their differences over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told US President Joe Biden in Tokyo Tuesday that the India-US strategic partnership is truly a “partnership of trust” as the two sides launched a slew of initiatives in a range of areas: from critical and emerging technologies to vaccines and defence, from artificial intelligence to data science.

“There’s so much that our countries can and will do together, and I am committed to making the US-India partnership among the closest we have on Earth,” Biden said as the bilateral began.

Earlier, in his opening remarks at the Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo, Biden had made a direct reference to Modi’s leadership, framing it in terms of democracy vs autocracy. “Prime Minister Modi, it’s wonderful to see you again in person… I thank you for your continuing commitment to making sure democracies deliver, because that’s what this is about: democracies versus autocracies. And we have to make sure we deliver,” the US President said.

About the Modi-Biden bilateral on the sidelines of the summit in Tokyo, the White House said, “President Biden condemned Russia’s unjustifiable war against Ukraine. The leaders committed to continue providing humanitarian assistance, and discussed how to cooperate to manage disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine, in particular the rise in energy and food prices, to protect their respective citizens and the world.”

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The Indian statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs avoided any reference to the situation in Ukraine.

Biden said, “We also discussed the ongoing effects of Russia’s brutal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and the effect it has on the entire global world order. And the U.S. and India are going to continue consulting closely on how to mitigate these negative effects.”

In his opening remarks at the bilateral, Modi said, “Our shared values, and our common interests in many areas, including security, have strengthened the bonds of this trust…I am confident that the friendship between India and USA will continue to be a force for good for global peace and stability, for the sustainability of the planet, and for the well-being of mankind.”

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the meeting “resulted in substantive outcomes” which will “add depth and momentum” to the bilateral partnership. The key outcomes:

* Critical tech: India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to be co-led by India’s National Security Council Secretariat and the US National Security Council. The MEA said this will forge closer linkages between the government, academia and industry of the two countries in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G and 6G, biotech, space and semiconductors.

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* Health: Extension of longstanding Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) until 2027 to continue joint biomedical research which had resulted in the development of vaccines and related technologies. Expanding collaboration to fight non-communicable diseases including diabetes and cancer.

* AI/Data science: The White House readout said the US plans to join six of India’s Technology Innovation Hubs to support at least 25 joint research projects in 2022 in AI, and data science to advance progress in applications such as agriculture, health and climate.

* Defence/New defence: The White House announced India joining the Combined Military Forces-Bahrain as an associate member. The MEA said Modi invited US industries to partner with India to manufacture in the defence sector. Agreement on expanding cooperation in new defence domains, including space, cyber, and launching a dialogue on AI this year.

* Investments: Both concluded an Investment Incentive Agreement which provides a framework for US Development Finance Corporation to continue to expand its investment in India for private sector-led projects in renewable energy, agriculture, health, and SME financing.

* Climate action: Enhancing partnership to accelerate India’s energy transition, including through the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership, especially in renewables deployment, decarbonising energy and industrial sectors, zero-emissions vehicles.

Modi said both the US and India share the same vision about the Indo-Pacific region and are working to safeguard the shared values and common interests not only at the bilateral level but also with other like-minded countries.

“The Prime Minister welcomed the launch of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and stated that India is ready to work closely with all partner countries to shape a flexible, and inclusive IPEF taking into consideration the respective national circumstances,” the MEA said.

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