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Kamala Harris Hails India's COVID Fight, PM Modi Calls Her an Inspiration

PM Narendra Modi also invited US Vice President Kamala Harris to India.

Updated
India
7 min read

In the first meet since she was elected as the Vice President of the United States, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with Kamala Harris in Washington DC on Thursday, 22 September.

Ahead of the talks, both Modi and Harris issued a joint statement and praised the support provided by the two countries to each other during the COVID-19 pandemic. Harris also hailed India's vaccination drive and welcomed the announcement of India resuming vaccine exports.

Calling Harris' election an inspiration, PM Modi said that he expects the bilateral ties between the two countries to improve under her and President Joe Biden's leadership.

The bilateral talks, that were held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House, were also attended by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

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Kamala Harris Hails India's COVID Fight, Vaccination Drive

Harris, in a joint statement issued with PM Modi ahead of the bilateral talks, called India an important partner of the United States and praised India's COVID-19 fight and climate change efforts.

"I know that India takes the issue of climate crisis seriously. We believe that the US and India working together can have a profound impact not only on the people of our nations but the world," Harris said.

"On COVID-19, our nations have worked together. Early in the pandemic, India was a vital source of vaccines for other countries," she added.

Harris said that when India experienced the surge in the cases of COVID-19, the United States was proud to support India in its need and its responsibility to vaccinate its people.

"I welcome India's announcement that it will soon be able to resume vaccine exports. It is particular note and admiration that India is currently vaccinating approximately 10 million people a day as of today," Harris said.

Incumbent on India, US To Protect Democracies: Harris

Harris also stressed upon "protecting democracies" which she said would be "in the best interest of the people of our countries".

"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 maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home. And it is incumbent on our nations, of course, to protect democracies in the best interest of the people of our countries," she said, as per ANI.

“I know from personal experience and from my family of the commitment of the Indian people to democracy,” she said, according to Los Angeles Times, “and the work that needs to be done [so that] we can begin to imagine, and then actually achieve, our vision for democratic principles and institutions.”

'Inspiration': PM Modi Hails Kamala Harris, Invites Her to India

Praising Harris, PM Modi said: "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."

PM Modi also invited Harris to visit India.

PM Modi expressed gratitude for the help provided by the US during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

"India and America are natural partners; we have similar values, geopolitical interests, and our coordination and cooperation is also increasing," he said.

PM Modi said that the vibrant and strong people-to-people connections between India and the US are a bridge between the two countries.

A statement issued by the White House after the talks said that the two leaders reaffirmed strategic partnership between the nations, discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and their collaborative efforts to respond and recover, and talked about the cooperation on vaccine production under the Quad Vaccine Partnership, news agency ANI reported.

"The Vice President welcomed India’s commitment to resume vaccine exports and the progress of its domestic vaccination campaign," the statement said.

Further, VP Harris and PM Modi reiterated the need for ambitious action in face of the ongoing climate crisis, and emphasised 'a commitment to democratic values and discussed the need to strengthen democracy at home and abroad', ANI reported.

"They supported expanding bilateral security cooperation in the face of modern threats, including terrorism and cybercrime," the White House stated.

The two also discussed US-India space cooperation.

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Bilateral Meet with Australian PM Scott Morrison

PM Modi also held bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison to discuss "deepening economic and people-to-people linkages between India and Australia," the PMO said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) called the meet between PM modi and Scott Morrison "another chapter in our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Australia."

"Discussed regional & global developments as well as ongoing bilateral cooperation in areas related to COVID-19, trade, defence, clean energy & more (sic)," the MEA tweeted.

Australian PM Scott Morrison said he looked forward to deeping the partnership with India, ANI reported.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that PM Scott Morrison "briefly mentioned the rationale from the Australian side in seeking to initiate the AUKUS alliance".

"He felt that the technology they received was appropriate and there was a brief discussion in that regard," Shringla said while addressing a press conference on PM Modi's first day of engagements in the US.

Bilateral Meet With Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, which was their first in-person meeting after the latter took over the reins from Shinzo Abe in September of 2020.

PM Modi had held a telephonic conversation with Suga in April this year. The two had discussed cooperation in diverse areas, including high technology, skill development, and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

India and Japan, along with the US and Australia, will be participating in the first in-person summit of the Quad on 24 September, hosted by US President Joe Biden on 24 September. "The leaders will review progress made since their first virtual summit on 12 March 2021, and discuss regional issues of shared interests", the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said in a statement on 14 September, reported ANI.

Earlier, PM Modi met several dignitaries including Qualcomm CEO Cristiano R Amon, Adobe Chairman Shantanu Narayen, and First Solar CEO Mark Widmar, among others.

Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon

In his meeting with Qualcomm CEO and President Cristiano Amon, Prime Minister Modi discussed leveraging technology for public and tech opportunities in India.

Calling the meeting fruitful, PM Modi said that Amon was interested in India's stride in 5G.

"We spoke on semiconductors which is an important topic of conversation. We spoke on opportunity to continue to build an incredible mobile ecosystem developing in India. We're happy with everything we're doing together with India," Amon said.

"I think the approach to driving economic growth in making India a destination for investment has been very successful and we welcome that," he added.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen

In his meet with Adobe CM Shantanu Narayen, PM Modi discussed ideas relating to ed-tech and boosting innovations.

"Mr Shantanu Narayen of Adobe is a great friend of India’s. I sat down with him to discuss interesting ideas relating to ed-tech, supporting Indian start-ups and boosting innovation. Shantanu expressed keenness to take the joys of video and animation to every child in India," PM Modi tweeted.

"PM Modi and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen also held discussions over leveraging technology to provide smart education to youngsters, enhance research and the vibrant start-up sector in India, powered by the Indian youth," the PMO said in a tweet.

Narayen said that it was a pleasure to hear about Modi's vision to expand India.

"Among the key topics we talked about was continued investment in innovation, he said he believes that technology is the way to help move things forward," Narayen was quoted as saying after his meeting with PM Modi.

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Mark R Widmar, First Solar

After his meet with Prime Minister Modi, First Solar CEO Mark R Widmar stated that the company will establish manufacturing in India under Modi's leadership.

"Clearly with his leadership and what he's done to create a really strong balance between industrial policy as well as trade policy, it makes it an ideal opportunity for companies like First Solar to establish manufacturing in India."
Mark R Widmar, First Solar CEO

PM Modi tweeted that his discussion with Widmar was about green hydrogen mission and why India was the right destination to invest in Solar energy.

Vivek Lall, General Atomics

PM Modi met Vivek Lall, Chief Executive Officer of General Atomics Global Corporation and discussed advancing defence manufacturing, use of emerging technologies & augmenting capacity building in India.

PM Modi tweeted that his meeting with Lall was about how India is ushering a paradigm shift in drone policy.

Lall said that they discussed a lot of potential areas for collaboration with India as it is a very promising destination.

"It was an outstanding meeting. We spoke about technology and the confidence in the policy reforms that are coming in India and the great potential that India has from an investment perspective."
Vivek Lall, General Atomics CEO

Lall also praised India's new drone policy and said that the reforms that PM Modi had taken will increase the interest of investment in India.

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Blackstone Group's CEO Stephen Schwarzman

PM Modi also held a meeting with American alternative investment management firm Blackstone Group's CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

The PMO said that various investment opportunities including those arising due to the National Infrastructure Pipeline and National Monetisation Pipeline were discussed with Schwarzman.

"It was a delight to meet Mr Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of Blackstone. His commercial success and intellectual prowess are admirable. We talked about India’s investment potential and why our country is one of the world’s most attractive destination for investment," PM Modi tweeted.

Schwarzman said that his company will be investing 40 Billion Dollar Assets in India over the next five years.

"I had a very good meeting with the PM. I told him that Blackstone had already invested 60 billion US dollars in assets in India, and over the next 5 years, we're planning another 40 billion US dollars of assets."
Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group

(With inputs from ANI and Los Angeles Times)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Published: 
Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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