Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden held the first-ever bilateral meeting at the White House on Friday and discussed a wide range of important issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and economic cooperation.
The meeting that went on for 19 minutes is not the first time they conversed. It is PM Modi’s seventh visit to the US after assuming office in 2014. Both Biden and Prime Minister Modi have spoken over the phone multiple times and have attended a few virtual summits, including that of the Quad in March hosted by the US president.
“This morning I’m hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House for a bilateral meeting. I look forward to strengthening the deep ties between our two nations, working to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, and tackling everything from COVID-19 to climate change,” President Biden tweeted minutes before the meeting.
Full Transcript of Joe Biden’s Speech
Mr Prime Minister, I’ve long believed that the US, India relationship can help us solve global challenges. In 2006 I had said that by 2020, India and the United States would be the closest nations in the world.
I’m not sure but when I was elected as a 29-year-old kid in 1972, before I was sworn-in, I got a letter from a person named Biden, last name, from Mumbai. The press told me that there were five Bidensn living in India. I was never able to follow up. I believe there was a Captain George Biden in the East India tea company. That is hard for an Irish person to admit. I shouldn’t be so casual. I hope you are able to understand the humour. The end result was that he apparently stayed and married an Indian woman. I have never been able to track it down so the whole purpose of this meeting is to help me figure it out.
As President, I think that the relationship between India and the United States, the largest democracies in the world, is destined to be stronger, closer and tighter, and I believe it can benefit the whole world.
We are launching a new chapter in the history of India-US ties, taking on some of the toughest challenges we face together, starting with a shared commitment.
Mr Prime Minister and I have will be talking today about what more we can do to fight COVID-19, take on the climate challenges and ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific, including with our partners.
Of course, our partnership is more than just what we do. It’s about who we are and our shared responsibility to uphold democratic values, our joint commitment to diversity, and it’s about family ties, including four million Indian Americans, make the United States stronger every single day.
The world celebrates Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday next week. We’re all reminded that his message of non-violence, respect, tolerance matters today maybe more than ever.
Full transcript of PM Modi’s Speech
First of all, Mr President, I would like to express my gratitude for this very warm welcome full of friendship, not only to me but to my delegation. In 2016, as well as in 2014, we had an opportunity to have discussions in detail.
At that time, Mr President, you had laid out a vision for the India-US relationship in great detail. It was that vision that was truly inspirational. Today, as President, you are making all efforts to implement that vision.
Mr President, you have earlier talked in detail about the Biden surname in India. After you mentioned that to me, I looked for documents. Today, I have brought along a set of documents that could be of some use to you. Maybe we will be able to take this matter forward.
Coming back to the bilateral summit, Mr President, our summit meeting today is on the first year of the third decade of the 21st century. And I see that when I look at the entire decade. Your leadership will certainly play an important role in how this decade is shaped. The seeds have been sown for an even stronger friendship between India and the US. This is going to be a transformative period. I can see that very clearly.
When I talk about democratic values as traditions to which both countries are committed to, I find that importance of these traditions will only increase further.
Mr President, you mentioned, more than four million Indian Americans are participating in the journey of the progress of America. When I look at the importance of this decade and the role that this talent of the Indian Americans will play, I believe that the people-to-people talent will play a greater role and Indian talent will be a full partner in this relationship. And I see that your contribution is going to be very important in this.
Mr President, the most important driving force in the world today would be that of technology for the service and use of humanity. I find that opportunities for this are going to be tremendous.
Similarly, Mr President, between India and the United States, trade will continue to assume importance. We find that the trade between our two countries is actually complimentary. There are things that you have and there are things that we have, which complement each other. I find that the area of trade is also going to be tremendously important during this decade.
Mr President, you just mentioned that on October 2, we would be celebrating the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi always used to talk about the principle of trusteeship, a concept which is very important for our planet in the times to come.”. This sentiment of trusteeship will assume more and more importance globally, but also between the relations between India and the United States. It was these ideals that Padma Gandhi espoused when he talked about the transition of the planet and where the responsibility of global citizens is only going to go up.
Mr President, after you assumed charge as President of the United States, you have taken very unique initiatives, whether that be COVID-19, climate change, or even Quad.
After taking this initiative, you have made and deployed great efforts to bring them to implement your mission. Today we have this opportunity to discuss all these issues in great detail. After our discussions, we will look towards how we can work further together, not only for our respective countries but also for the entire world, how we can take positive action. I am absolutely convinced that under your leadership, whatever we do, it will be highly relevant for the entire world.