WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday praised US Vice President Kamala Harris as a “source of inspiration” while extending an invitation to her to visit India.
PM Modi met US Vice President Kamala Harris here, a day ahead of his highly anticipated bilateral meet with US President Joe Biden.
“Your election as Vice President of USA has been an important and historic event. You are a source of inspiration for many across the world. I am confident that under President Biden and your leadership our bilateral relations will touch new heights,” PM Modi said in a joint press conference with Harris after the two leaders met.
“Continuing on this journey of victory, Indians would also want you to continue that in India and therefore they are waiting to welcome you. I extend you an invitation to visit India,” he added.
This was PM Modi’s first in-person meeting with Harris after she made history by becoming the first Indian-origin person to become the Vice President of America.
PM Modi expressed his gratitude to the US for extending a helping hand when the country was hit by the second wave of COVID-19 earlier this year.
“I extend my gratitude for the warm welcome that you have extended to me and my delegation. Some months ago, we had the opportunity to talk to each other over the phone. We had a detailed discussion at that time. The way you spoke to me so warmly and naturally. I will always remember that,” PM Modi said.
“It was a very difficult time when India was hit by the second wave of COVID-19. The way you expressed concern and extended a helping hand, I express my gratitude to you. I will like to thank you,” he added.
Highlighting that India and America are “natural partners”, PM Modi said India and the US have similar values, geopolitical interests, and our coordination and cooperation is also increasing.
“The vibrant and strong people-to-people connections between India and the US is a bridge between our two countries, their contributions are praiseworthy,” he added.
Earlier in June this year, PM Modi held a telephonic conversation with Harris and discussed the US’ strategy for global vaccine sharing and the Quad vaccine initiative to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement before leaving for the US, the Prime Minister had said he is looking forward to meeting Vice President Kamala Harris to explore opportunities for cooperation between our two nations particularly in the area of science and technology.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi met US Vice President Kamala Harris, Australian PM Scott Morrison and held meetings with five global CEOs for potential investment in India. These talks were part of series of meetings that Prime Minister Modi undertook with select heads of corporates that have the potential to invest significantly in India.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi arrived in Washington for his much-touted US visit. He had earlier addressed the Global COVID-19 Summit called by US President Biden.
Biden is scheduled to host PM Modi at the White House on September 24. This is going to be the first in-person meeting between the two leaders after Biden took over as the US President on January 20.
Biden will host the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit, which will be joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
PM Modi’s US visit will conclude on September 25 with an address at the United Nations General Assembly focusing on the pressing global challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to combat terrorism, climate change and other important issues.
This is Prime Minister Modi’s first visit abroad beyond the neighbourhood since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. PM Modi is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and senior officials.
The high-level session of the UNGA began on Tuesday in New York. The theme for this year’s General Debate is ‘Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations’.