PM Modi to visit US, meet President Biden this month
PM Narendra Modi is reportedly scheduled to visit the United States to meet President Joe Biden and other top officials at the end of September. While an official confirmation is awaited, Modi is expected to visit Washington DC and New York around September 22-27. Notably, this will be the Indian Prime Minister's first US visit since Biden took charge as president in January 2021.
While PM Modi and President Biden met at least thrice virtually this year—Quad Leaders' Summit (March), Leaders' Climate Summit (April), and G7 Summit (June)—the meeting scheduled for September-end will be the first in-person meeting between the two leaders. Though Modi was supposed to meet Biden for the G7 summit in the UK, his trip was canceled owing to the second COVID-19 wave in India.
To recall, PM Modi last visited the United States two years ago, in September 2019, when Donald Trump was the President to address the "Howdy, Modi!" event in Houston, Texas. PM Modi's "Abki Baar, Trump Sarkar" call at the event didn't go down well the Democratic Party at the time. And now, reaching out to Biden-led Democratic administration could be quite "an effort."
PM Modi and Biden are expected to discuss several Indo-Pacific issues, including the Chinese challenge of mutual concern, and the situation in Afghanistan, among other things, during their meeting. Modi would also attend the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York on September 25. Meanwhile, the second Quad Leaders' Summit is also being planned to be held around the UNGA session.
According to reports, the second Quad Leaders' Summit is likely to be conducted in a hybrid format—Modi and Biden would be attending in person; Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga were expected to join virtually. However, Suga's Friday announcement that he would step down has made things unclear. However, he's expected to remain in the post until his successor is chosen.
Ahead of PM Modi's tentative visit to the US, Indian Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, visited New York and Washington DC to meet top Biden administration officials. He met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his American counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Thursday to discuss matters ranging from strategic bilateral relations, regional issues, to global issues like the Afghanistan situation.
US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, said Shringla and Sherman discussed several issues of mutual priority and concern like continued coordination on Afghanistan, boosting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region through the Quad summit, climate crisis, COVID-19 pandemic, and preparations for the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. Shringla also met with the US Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Uzra Zeya.