UNITED STATES: On his second day in the United States, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US Vice President Kamala Harris and stressed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The United States is trying to solidify its pivot toward Asia and strengthen ties with allies to take on China’s growing influence in the region. The Biden administration is taking crucial steps to deepen its relationship with one of its most important allies in Asia.
“The United States, like India, feels very strongly about the pride of being a member of the Indo Pacific, but also the fragility and importance…of those relationships, including maintaining a free and open Indo Pacific,” Harris told Modi during the meeting.
The meeting was also a celebratory moment for the 4 million strong Indian diasporas in the United States and Indians who take pride in Harris’s Indian roots.
Modi praised Harris and called her an “inspiration,” a leader who is like “family” and called her a “real friend” who has had India’s back during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The oldest democracy and the largest democracy…we are indeed natural partners, we have similar values,” Modi said.
Harris welcomed India’s decision to resume exports of the COVID-19 vaccine. She added that both countries must work together to protect democracies around the world.
Currently, India is the world’s biggest maker of COVID-19 vaccines. The country recently announced that it would resume vaccine exports later this year. To focus on inoculating its population, India stopped vaccine exports in April.
“When India experienced the surge of Covid in the country, the United States was very proud to support India in its need and responsibility to vaccinate its people, and I welcome India’s announcement that it will soon be able to resume vaccine exports,” Harris said.
Modi’s three-day Washington trip will be capped by a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday.
Biden and Modi will also hold a “Quad” summit with the leaders of Australia and Japan, aiming to boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region amid China’s growing dominance in the area.
Modi also met the chief executives of Qualcomm, Blackstone, Adobe, First Solar, and General Atomics on Thursday.