Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to the US to attend the first in-person Quad leaders summit on September 24. He will also address the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25.
The White House announced on Monday night that “US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will host the first-ever Quad Leaders Summit at the White House on September 24. President Biden is looking forward to welcoming to the White House Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan.”
It also said that “The Biden-Harris Administration has made elevating the Quad a priority, as seen through the first-ever Quad Leaders-level engagement in March, which was virtual, and now this Summit, which will be in-person. Hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
“The Quad Leaders will be focused on deepening our ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said.
As first reported by The Indian Express, Modi is expected to travel to Washington DC and New York in the last week of September.
This will be his first visit to the United States since President Joe Biden assumed charge early this year.
This will be Modi’s first in-person meeting with Biden. The two have met virtually on at least three occasions – the Quad summit in March, the climate change summit in April, and the G-7 summit in June this year.
Modi was supposed to travel to the UK for the G-7 summit where he could have met Biden, but had to cancel the trip due to the second Covid-19 wave across India.
With the situation in Afghanistan unfolding rapidly, Modi’s visit is significant. Besides meeting Biden, he is expected to have important meetings with the top echelons of the US administration.
Modi last visited the US in September 2019, when then US President Donald Trump had addressed the Howdy Modi event – the Prime Minister’s “abki baar Trump sarkar” line had not gone down well with the Democratic party’s establishment.
Two years since, it will be an effort to reach out to the Democratic establishment, which has been quite vocal about the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
On the strategic side, the two sides will work on an ambitious agenda on the Indo-Pacific – with the Chinese challenge being one of the shared concerns. In this context, an in-person Quad leaders’ summit is being held in Washington DC.
In a bid to give shape to the PM’s agenda, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had met top Biden administration officials in Washington DC earlier this month, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman, and held substantive discussions with them on the strategic bilateral ties and regional and global issues like the current situation in Afghanistan.
This was the first high-level discussion between the officials of the two countries after the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan on August 31.
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