Joe Biden has further strengthened US relations with the world’s most populous country. Immediately after his arrival in India, the 80-year-old US President was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi. The meeting on the eve of the G20 summit took place behind closed doors, much to the anger of the media.
There is an “undeniable warmth” and “trust” between Biden and Modi, a US government official said afterwards. “I believe that the United States’ most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century will be with India.”
“New chapter in bilateral cooperation”
The two countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in defense, space and research, according to a joint statement. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai also said the US and India had resolved their last outstanding dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO). This will “open a new chapter in bilateral cooperation” that will “deepen” the trade relations between the two countries.
Both sides considered the common values of “freedom, democracy, human rights, integration, pluralism and equal opportunities for all citizens” to be crucial, the joint statement continued. According to the US government, Biden regularly refers to the “importance of the health of democracy” in conversations with Modi. However, he does not do this in a way that creates the impression that one country is teaching another. India is developing.
This comment is probably aimed at the considerable criticism in the US media that there was before the meeting between Modi and Biden because media access was severely restricted. Modi of the Hindu nationalist BJP has been the country’s prime minister since 2014, and during his time in office India fell several places in rankings on democracy or press freedom.
Modi is also looking for solidarity
Despite this, the USA is aggressively trying to bind India more closely to itself as an important player in the Indo-Pacific and on the international stage. Just a few months ago, Biden welcomed Modi as a state guest at the White House. It is the clear goal of the US government to counter China’s desire for power in the region.
Modi, whose country is traditionally non-aligned, is also increasingly seeking relations with the USA – in view of very tense relations with Beijing. China’s head of state Xi Jinping and Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin will not take part in the summit of leading industrialized and emerging countries (G20).
rb/wa (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)