Modi-Biden speak; discuss cooperation on COVID, Indo-pacific

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Nov 18, 2020, 07.16 AM(IST)

Joe Biden and Narendra Modi. Photo courtesy: US State Department Photograph:( Others )

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As vice president under Obama's administration, he had engaged with the Indian PM

In first-ever talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Joe Biden as the President-elect of the United States, the focus was on cooperation on how to deal with the COVID pandemic, its economic impact, and Indo Pacific.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said, "Spoke to US President-elect @JoeBiden on phone to congratulate him. We reiterated our firm commitment to the Indo-US strategic partnership and discussed our shared priorities and concerns - Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region."

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He also conveyed congratulations for VP-elect Kamala Harris to Biden saying her, "success is a matter of great pride and inspiration for members of the vibrant Indian-American community, who are a tremendous source of strength for Indo-US relations."

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As vice president under Obama's administration, he had engaged with the Indian PM. In fact, he has chaired a Joint Session of the Congress in June 2016 which was addressed by PM Modi.

A readout from Biden-Harris transition team said, president-elect "expressed his desire to strengthen and expand the US-India strategic partnership" alongside the "first vice president of South Asian descent."

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The readout highlighted key areas in which the Biden administration "looks forward to working closely" with Prime Minister Modi which include "containing COVID-19 and defending against future health crises, tackling the threat of climate change, launching the global economic recovery, strengthening democracy at home and abroad" and "maintaining a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region."

On area which both readout mention is Indo-Pacific, a concept that was the key focus of Trump Admin and New Delhi and shows continuity on the issue. The concept, backed by India, the US, and like-minded partners is seen suspiciously by China.

Biden has been a supporter of close New Delhi-Washington ties, in his capacity as a senator and the vice president. In August 2001, Joe Biden had written a letter to then-President George W. Bush calling on the new administration to drop U.S. sanctions against India and during his tenure as the Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he worked towards the U.S. Senate’s approval of US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2008.

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