PM Modi and VP Harris meet to further cement India-US friendship

The Indian American Vice President has graciously accepted PM Modi’s invitation to visit India.

Washington: Terming India a very important partner, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday that the two countries shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Harris made the remarks during a joint statement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “India is a very important partner to the U.S. We had COVID-19, the kind of crisis and importance of our shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific region. On COVID-19, our nations have worked together. Early in the pandemic, India was a vital source of vaccines for other countries,” the vice president said.

“When India experienced the surge of COVID in the country, the United States was proud to support India in its need and its responsibility to vaccinate its people,” she added. She took note of  India’s announcement on Monday to resume export of surplus Covid vaccines.

Meanwhile, Modi expressed his gratitude to the U.S. for extending a helping hand to India when it was hit by the second wave of COVID-19.

“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. 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,” he told Harris.

Highlighting that India and America are “natural partners,” Modi said India and the U.S. 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 U.S. is a bridge between our two countries, their contributions are praiseworthy,” he added.

“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,” he added.

Modi invited the 56-year-old Democratic leader and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff to visit India.  Harris has graciously accepted the invitation, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters.

“Strong commitment to further deepen bilateral relations!” tweeted MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. “Leadership-level engagement continues to be an integral element of our expanding bilateral partnership with the USA!” he added.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said the two leaders exchanged views on recent global developments, including in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

“As relates to the Indo-Pacific, the US stresses on maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Harris said, amidst China’s aggressive moves in the strategically vital region.

Harris said the world is more interconnected and more interdependent than ever before. “And the challenges that we face today have highlighted that fact. COVID-19, climate crisis and the importance of our shared belief in the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

“Both sides acknowledged the importance of collaborative action on climate change. Prime Minister Modi spoke about India’s push for increasing renewable energy and the recently launched National Hydrogen Mission. He also emphasized the importance of lifestyle changes to promote environmental sustainability,” the statement said.

Modi met with Harris a day ahead of his highly anticipated bilateral meet with U.S. President Joe Biden.

PM Modi and VP Harris posing for photographs without masks.

Images courtesy of (Photo: PIB) and (Photo: MEA India)

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