US President praises Modi for Covid handling democratically

US President Joe Biden praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the Covid crisis as India and US on Tuesday resolved to strengthen their robust ties and vowed to work together for a more prosperous, free, and secure world. President Biden said he is committed to making the US-India partnership “among the closest we have on earth,” while Prime Minister Modi termed the relations as “a partnership of trust.”

The two leaders held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Quad summit and also committed to bilateral defence and economic engagements. Modi also held a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Three former Japanese Prime Ministers --- Yoshihide Suga, Yoshiro Mori, and Shinzo Abe --- called on Modi.

Biden praised Modi for handling the Covid pandemic successfully in a democratic manner. He contrasted India’s success with China’s failure to handle the pandemic, though both countries are of comparable size, sources said. These remarks by the US President were made during the closed-door Quad summit, they said.

Biden also told Modi that he is committed to making the US partnership with India “among the closest on earth,” saying there is so much that the two countries can and will do together. After meeting with Biden, Modi tweeted, “Today’s discussions were wide-ranging and covered multiple aspects of India-USA ties, including trade, investment, defence as well as people-to-people linkages.” In his opening remarks at the meeting, the Prime Minister said the strategic relationship between India and the US is truly a “partnership of trust” and the friendship will continue to be a “force for good” for global peace and stability. Modi invited the US industries to partner with India to manufacture in the defence sector under the Make in India and self-reliant India programs.

Following the talks between the two leaders in Tokyo, the Ministry of External Affairs said both sides launched an India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to facilitate outcome-oriented cooperation in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G, and 6G, biotech, space, and semiconductors. The new mechanism under the iCET will be co-led by India’s National Security Council Secretariat and the US National Security Council.

It said India and the US also extended the longstanding Vaccine Action Program (VAP) until 2027 to continue joint biomedical research which had resulted in the development of vaccines and related technologies.

A White House readout said Biden condemned Russia’s “unjustifiable war” against Ukraine and that the leaders discussed how to cooperate to manage disruptions caused by the war, especially the rise in energy and food prices to protect their respective citizens and the world.

It said the two leaders committed to deepening the “major defence partnership”, encouraging economic engagement that benefits both countries, and expanding the partnership on global health, pandemic preparedness, and critical and emerging technologies.

It said they looked forward to enhancing the partnership to accelerate India’s just energy transition, including through the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership, especially in the areas of renewables deployment, decarbonizing the energy and industrial sectors, zero-emissions vehicles and mobilizing related investment in India.

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,” the White House said.

It said the two sides announced India’s joining the Combined Military Forces-Bahrain as an associate member. In his televised remarks, Modi said the two countries have shared values and common interests in many areas, including security, and they have strengthened the bonds of trust.

“I am sure that the India-USA Investment Incentive Agreement between us will see concrete progress in the direction of investment. We are increasing our bilateral cooperation in the field of technology, and also strengthening mutual coordination on global issues,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister 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.

“Quad and IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity) announced yesterday are active examples of this. Today our discussion will give more momentum to this positive momentum,” he said.

“I am confident that the friendship of India and America 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,” Modi said.

Modi held “fruitful” discussions with his Australian counterpart and reviewed the multifaceted bilateral cooperation and reaffirmed their desire to deepen it. Both leaders reviewed the multi-faceted cooperation under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including in trade and investment, defence manufacturing, renewable energy including green hydrogen, education, science and technology, agricultural research, sports, and people-to-people ties, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday met his US and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of the Quad summit here and discussed regional and global issues. Jaishankar, who is here as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s delegation, met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and held talks with him on several important issues, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Jaishankar also exchanged views on regional and global issues with his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi.