New Delhi/Washington (NVI): Amidst China’s growing assertiveness, US President Joseph Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have decided to have close cooperation to promote a “stronger regional architecture” in the Indo-Pacific through the Quad grouping of India, US, Japan and Australia.
In their first telephonic conversation since Biden assumed charge as the US President on January 20, the two leaders committed to work closely in the fight against COVID-19 and rebuild the global economy and stand together against the scourge of global terrorism.
The two leaders also noted that the India-US partnership is “firmly anchored in a shared commitment to democratic values and common strategic interests.” This assumes significance since some American lawmakers and celebrities have recently been speaking on the issue of ongoing farmers’ protest in India.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry said the Prime Minister warmly congratulated President Biden, conveyed best wishes for his tenure, and looked forward to working closely with him to further elevate the India-US Strategic Partnership.
“The leaders discussed at length regional developments and the wider geo-political context,” it said.
In a readout on the telephonic conversation held last night, the White House said the two leaders committed that “the United States and India will work closely together to win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, renew their partnership on climate change, rebuild the global economy in a way that benefits the people of both countries, and stand together against the scourge of global terrorism. “
It added, “The leaders agreed to continuing close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, including support for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad.”
The External Affairs Ministry said Modi and Biden “reiterated the importance of working with like-minded countries to ensure a rules-based international order and a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.”
According to reports, the first meeting of the Quad during the Biden presidency is being arranged shortly, indicating the keenness of the new American administration to bolster the four-nation grouping which aims to ensure that China does not succeed in restricting the navigational routes in the Indo-Pacific region.
During the conversation, Biden “underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the U.S.-India relationship,” the White House said.
“They (Modi and Biden) noted that the India-US partnership is firmly anchored in a shared commitment to democratic values and common strategic interests,” the MEA said.
The two leaders “further resolved that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld in Burma (Myanmar),” the White House said.
Myanmar, the eastern neighbour of India, has recently plunged into a crisis, with the military seizing power and disallowing the duly-elected party of Aung San Suu Kyi to form government.
“The leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a range of global challenges and look forward to what the United States and India will achieve together for their people and for their nations,” the White House said.
The MEA statement said the Prime Minister and President Biden affirmed the importance of addressing the challenge of global climate change.
“Prime Minister welcomed President Biden’s decision to re-commit to the Paris Agreement and highlighted the ambitious targets India has set for itself in the area of renewable energy. Prime Minister welcomed President Biden’s initiative to organise the Climate Leaders Summit in April this year and looked forward to participating in the same,” it said.
Modi took the opportunity to invite President Biden and US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to visit India at their earliest convenience, the MEA said.