Washington: The main objective of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States is to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the US and India, with a focus on enhancing cooperation and collaboration and has nothing to do about China or Russia, John Kirby, White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications

During a press conference, Kirby stated that this visit is not about convincing PM Modi or the Indian Government to do something different.

"This state visit is also not about Russia. And what we're trying to do with our bilateral relationship with India is improve the bilateral relationship for its own sake and on its own foundation, because it's that important to us. It's not about forcing or coercing or trying to convince Prime Minister Modi or the Indian government to do something different. It's about focusing on where we are in this relationship and making it more important, more robust, more cooperative going forward," said Kirby.

The NSC Coordinator also said that the US supported "India's emergence as a great power" and was looking to improve and deepen the defence cooperation between India and US.

"This is a big week here at the White House. This visit will affirm the strong ties between our two countries (US and India) and elevate our strategic partnership. We want to improve and deepen the defence cooperation between India and the USA. We support India's emergence as a great power," Kirby said.

Speaking about defence cooperation, he said that cooperation between the two countries has improved and the US is looking to deepen that, to broaden and to find opportunities to improve that defence cooperation.

"I won't speak for Prime Minister Modi or the Indian government and where and how they see their defence cooperation going forward. All I can tell you is what I said earlier that we have seen in recent years, particularly since the beginning of the Biden administration, that defence cooperation between our two countries has improved. And we're looking and you'll see quite a focus on it this week in particular, we're looking to deepen that, to broaden and to find opportunities to improve that defence cooperation between India and the United States," said Kirby.

The White House official said PM Modi's visit will strengthen the shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific.

"With Indians, we believe in a safe, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, so it makes sense to look for ways to improve our defence cooperation," Kirby said.

He further said that when leaders will summarise their meeting at the end, the discussion will be more on the focus of the future and on the future of the Indo-Pacific.

"We have a shared interest and a shared common goal of a free, open, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific. India is a major exporter of security in the Indo-Pacific region, and they certainly have equities of their own to speak to. So we're looking forward to where this is going," he added.

Speaking on the price cap on Russian oil, Kirby said, "The price cap is working and proven effective. It's working and we are gratified to see that. It is up to India to decide and we hope that India will continue to buy oil in keeping within the price cap."

In December last year, the United States and its allies went after Russia's all-important oil revenues after a European ban and price cap on Russian oil.

Europe, along with the United States and other major economies, like the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, and Australia, has agreed to a maximum of USD 60 per barrel on Russian seaborne oil, which means anyone who still wants to buy Russian oil has to pay that price or less if it wants to ship cargo through operators or insurers based in the EU or other countries who signed on to this price cap.

Replying to a question on if India could be a mediator in the Russia-Ukraine war, Kirby said, "It would be on Prime Minister Modi to take an assertive role. We would welcome a constructive role by any third party. It is a question that only PM Modi can answer."

Kirby further said that India has been a tremendous contributor to humanitarian assistance and said, "We welcome the humanitarian assistance given by India to Ukraine."

He said that PM Modi's visit concerns not just the red carpet and a terrific meal. It is about anchoring the relationship.

"A state visit is not just about the red carpet and a terrific meal. It is about anchoring the relationship. Take a look at the region, in which the bilateral relationship has improved and is going to go in 10-15 years from now. All these are a reason enough to have a meeting with India to see the future ahead. The full scope of the agenda, sitting down with Modi and his team. India has a vibrant democracy and they too work on it. No democracy reaches perfection. The idea is to become more perfect. We are going to work on this bilateral relationship," said Kirby.

He also informed that Vice President Kamala Harris will be hosting a lunch for PM Modi where several Indian-Americans will also be present.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in New York for his first historic state visit to the United States.

PM Modi was invited by the US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.

Prime Minister will also lead the celebrations of the International Day of Yoga at the United Nations Headquarters on June 21.

During his visit to New York, PM Modi will meet CEOs, Nobel laureates, economists, artists, scientists, scholars, entrepreneurs, academicians, and health sector experts.

PM Modi will then travel to Washington DC, where he will receive a ceremonial welcome at the White House on June 22 and meet Biden to continue their high-level dialogue.

The invitation to deliver such a historic speech was extended by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, demonstrating bipartisan support and respect for Prime Minister Modi in the United States.

He would be the first Indian Prime Minister to address a joint session of the United States Congress twice.