US again nudges India to protect democratic principles

Modi-Harris meet: US again subtly nudges India to protect democratic principles

Modi said that India and the US, being the largest and the oldest democracies, were indeed natural partners

During her meeting with Modi, Harris took up suo moto the issue of terrorism coming out of Pakistan and affecting the security of India and the US,. Credit: PTI File Photo

The United States once again subtly nudged India to protect democratic principles as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first in-person meetings American President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington D.C. on Friday.

As he played host to Modi at the White House in Washington D.C., Biden recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence and tolerance. He also said that the US and India shared a responsibility to uphold democratic values.

“Our partnership is more than just what we do. It's about who we are in our. Its about our shared responsibility to uphold democratic values, our joint commitment to diversity,” Biden said, adding, “As 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 it ever has.”

Read | PM Modi holds first bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden

The Prime Minister too referred to Mahatma Gandhi’s words about ‘trusteeship’ saying it was a concept which would be very important for our planet in the times to come

Modi earlier met Harris. It was the first meeting between the two after she scripted history becoming the first Indian-American to take over as the Vice President of the United States.

“I know from personal experience and from my family of the commitment of the Indian people to democracy and to freedom and to the work that may be done and can be done to imagine and then actually achieve our vision for democratic principles and institutions,” Harris said as she and Modi addressed media-persons just before the meeting.

The Biden Administration has been over the past few months tacitly conveying concerns in the US about the perception that India was backsliding on human rights and freedom of speech and religion.

“As democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world and that we do what we must do to strengthen democracies at home,” the US Vice President said. “It is incumbent on our nations to of course protect democracies in the best interests of people of our countries”.

Also Read | India, China engaged in war of words over Galwan Valley clash hours before Quad summit

Modi said that India and the US, being the largest and the oldest democracies, were indeed natural partners. “We have similar values, similar geopolitical interests, and, also, our coordination and cooperation is continuously increasing,” the Prime Minister told the US Vice President.

During her meeting with Modi, Harris took up suo moto the issue of terrorism coming out of Pakistan and affecting the security of India and the US, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla later told journalists.

The Prime Minister briefed the US Vice President about the cross-border terrorism, which has been coming out of Pakistan and targeting India for decades.

Shringla said that Harris stressed on Pakistan taking actions against the terrorist organizations posing threat to the security of the security of the US and India.

“She agreed with the Prime Minister’s briefing on the fact of cross border terrorism, and the fact that India has been a victim of terrorism for several decades now and on the need to rein in, and closely monitor Pakistan''s support for such terrorist groups,” the Foreign Secretary said.

Modi and Harris exchanged views on recent global developments, including in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

The two leaders discussed the Covid-19 situation in their respective countries, including ongoing efforts to contain the pandemic through expedited vaccination efforts and ensuring supply of critical medicines, therapeutics and healthcare equipment, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

The two sides acknowledged the importance of collaborative action on climate change. The Prime Minister told the US Vice President about his government’s push for increasing capacity to generate renewable energy and the recently launched National Hydrogen Mission in India.

Modi and Harris also discussed areas of future collaboration, including in the space sector, Information Technology, especially emerging and critical technologies, as well as the cooperation in the healthcare sector. “They acknowledged the vibrant people-to-people linkages as the bedrock of the mutually beneficial education linkages and the flow of knowledge, innovation and talent between our two countries,” the MEA stated.

Noting that Harris’s ascent to the second highest office in the federal government of the US was historic, Modi extended an invitation to her and her husband Douglas Emhoff for an early visit to India, so that people of the country could also celebrate her achievement.

 

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