US President Joe Biden on Sunday said he held “substantial discussions” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ways to strengthen the Indo-US partnership and thanked him for his leadership and hosting the G20 Summit in New Delhi.
Biden told reporters here in the Vietnamese capital that he also raised the importance of respecting human rights with Prime Minister Modi.
Biden, who arrived in New Delhi on his first visit to India as the US President, held wide-ranging talks with Modi and they vowed to “deepen and diversify” the bilateral major defence partnership while welcoming forward movement in India’s procurement of 31 drones and joint development of jet engines.
“I want to once again thank Prime Minister Modi for his leadership and his hospitality and hosting the G20. He and I have had substantial discussions about how we’re going to continue to strengthen the partnership between India and the US building on the Prime Minister’s visit to the White House last June,” Biden said during a press conference here.
“As I always do, I raised the importance of respecting human rights and the vital role the civil society and a free press have in building a strong and prosperous country with Modi,” he said.
According to the joint statement issued on Friday after Modi and Biden held bilateral talks, “The leaders re-emphasised that the shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights, inclusion, pluralism, and equal opportunities for all citizens are critical to the success our countries enjoy and that these values strengthen our relationship.”
Biden also talked about the “significant business” he had done in India during the G20 Summit.
“This was an important moment for the United States to demonstrate our global leadership and our commitment to solving the challenges that matter most to people around the world. Investing in inclusive growth and sustainable development, addressing the climate crisis, strengthening food security and education, advancing global health and health security,” he said.
“We showed the world the United States is a partner with a positive vision for our shared future,” he added.
On the corridor connecting India to Europe with the Middle East and Israel, he said that are going to open up untold opportunities for transformative economic investment.
He said the “illegal war in Ukraine” was also discussed at the summit and there was sufficient agreement on the need for just and lasting peace.
Responding to questions, President Biden said his goal is to provide stability around the world by building America’s ties with Vietnam and other Asian countries as he insisted that he is not trying to start a “cold war” with China.
“It’s not about containing China. It’s about having a stable base,” said Biden, who is here as Vietnam was elevating the United States to comprehensive strategic partner.
Biden also said that he met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of the G20 in New Delhi and ”talked about stability.”
“It wasn’t confrontational at all,” he added.