Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with United States Vice-President Harris at the White House yesterday during which they decided to further cement the Indo-US strategic partnership and discussed global issues of common interest, including threats to democracy, Afghanistan, and the Indo-Pacific.
Terming India a very important partner, Harris said that the two countries shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific region during a joint statement with PM Modi.
"India is a very important partner to the US. 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 Indian-American vice president said.
Harris also mentioned that there were terror groups working in Pakistan and that she asked Islamabad to take action so the matter does not threaten the security of India and the US. She noted that it is incumbent on the two nations to protect democracies in the best interests of the people in the two countries.
Meanwhile, Modi expressed his gratitude to the US 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. We had a detailed discussion at that time. The way you spoke to me so warmly and naturally. I will always remember that," Modi said in a joint press conference with Harris after the two leaders met.
"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.
Calling India and America "natural partners,” Modi said India and the US have similar values, geopolitical interests, and that coordination and cooperation between them was 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.
Modi met with Harris a day ahead of his highly anticipated bilateral meet with US President Joe Biden.
Earlier in June this year, Modi held a telephonic conversation with Harris and discussed the United States' strategy for global vaccine sharing and Quad vaccine initiative to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Modi met Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and held meetings with five global CEOs for potential investment in India. These talks were part of a series of meetings that Modi undertook with select heads of corporates that have the potential to invest significantly in India.
This is Modi's first visit abroad beyond the neighborhood since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and senior officials.