Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that India and America are “natural partners” as he 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.
“India and America are natural partners. We have similar values, geopolitical interests,” PM Modi said in a joint media appearance with Ms Harris. Noting that India and the US are the largest and oldest democracies, PM Modi said the two countries share values and their cooperation is also gradually increasing.
This is the first meeting between the two leaders. Ms Harris had earlier spoken with PM 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,” PM Modi told Harris, describing her as “a source of inspiration for many people in world”. He invited Ms Harris to visit India.
Ms Harris, 56, is the first-ever person of Indian origin to be elected as 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,” PM 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.
PM Modi said that the US government, companies based in the US 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.
On her part, Ms Harris described India as a “very important partner” to the US and welcomed New Delhi’s announcement that it will soon resume vaccine export.
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.