PM Narendra Modi meets US Vice President Kamala Harris


Guwahati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held the first in-person meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House during which the two leaders reinforced the bilateral strategic partnership and discussed issues of mutual and global interest.

Before commencing the delegations level talks, both the leaders issued a joint statement highlighting relations between the two nations, cooperations during the coronavirus pandemic, among other issues.

Meeting the Vice President, PM Modi said “India and America are natural partners. We have similar values, geopolitical interests.”

Noting that India and the US are the largest and oldest democracies, Modi said the two countries share values and their cooperation is also gradually increasing.

This is the first meeting between the two leaders. Harris had earlier spoken with Modi over the phone in June during the COVID-19 crisis in India.

“I am confident that our bilateral relations will touch new heights under President Joe Biden and you,” Modi told Harris, describing her as “a source of inspiration for many people in world”. He invited Harris to visit India.

Harris, 56, is the first-ever person of Indian origin to be elected as the vice-president of the United States.

“Both President Biden and you assumed office at a time when our planet faced very tough challenges. In a short time you have had many achievements to your credit be it COVID-19, climate change or the Quad,” Modi said.

“We have had the opportunity to speak after you assumed the Vice Presidency. One of our interactions happened when India was battling a very tough wave of COVID-19 infections. I recall your kind words of solidarity that time,” he added.

Modi said that the US Government, companies based in the USA and the Indian diaspora were very helpful when India was fighting a tough wave of COVID-19 infections.

He said that four million people of Indian origin are acting as a bridge of friendship between the two countries.

India stopped the export of COVID-19 vaccines after the second wave of the pandemic hit the country in April this year.

On Monday, India said that it will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter of 2021 under the ”Vaccine Maitri” programme and to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool.

On the issue of the climate crisis, she told Modi that the US working together with India can have not only a profound impact on people of nations but around the world itself.

“As relates to the Indo-Pacific, the US stresses on maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” she said.

She said the world is more interconnected and more interdependent than ever before. “And the challenges that we face today have highlighted that fact. COVID-19, climate crisis and the importance of our shared belief in the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

Harris said that it is incumbent on the two nations to protect democracies in the best interests of their people.

“As democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world. And that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home and it is incumbent on our nations to of course protect democracies in the best interests of people of our countries,” she said.

Their meeting comes a day ahead of the maiden bilateral meeting between Modi and President Joe Biden and the Quad Leaders’ Summit at the White House on Friday.

Since taking office, Harris has met with or spoken to over 30 world leaders, promoting US interests on issues ranging from global health to climate change to cyber threats.

(Inputs From PTI)