Joe Biden and Narendra Modi spoke over the phone last night— here’s what they discussed
- US President
Joe Bidenand Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modispoke last night and pledged to work together in rebuilding the global economy.
- The two leaders also spoke about the importance of the Indo-Pacific and the role of the QUAD partnership in protecting the region.
- “The President underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the U.S.-India relationship,” said the White House.
“The US and India will work closely together to win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, renew their partnership on climate change, rebuild the global economy in a way that benefit the people of both countries, and stand together against the scourge of global terrorism,” said the White House press release.
Impetus on the Indo-Pacific
Both leaders also agreed to continue their cooperation when it comes to the QUAD, the quadrilateral security dialogue between the democracies of India, the US, Japan and Australia. Among the four countries, India is the only one which shares a land border with China.
President @JoeBiden and I are committed to a rules-based international order. We look forward to consolidating our… https://t.co/eYuZmJdPSv— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1612805609000
The QUAD, on a global stage, is seen as a threat to China’s rising influence in the Indo-Pacific region. And, less than 24 hours ago, the US national security advisor Jake Sullivan called it the, “foundation upon which to build substantial American policy in the Indo-Pacific.”
The four participating members may soon hold their first meeting this year. However, there is no official word on when exactly this meeting will take place.
The importance of the Indo-Pacific for the US was similarly expressed in conversations that Biden had with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s leader Yoshihide Suga.
The question of democracy
“The President underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the U.S.-India relationship,” said the White House.
This statement comes at a time when India is facing massive farmers’ protests around the borders of its national capital and also come under scrutiny for shutting down the internet for elongated periods of time.
India has also fallen two places in the Democratic Index 2020 for its mishandling for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The Economist Intelligence Unit called it ‘democratic backsliding’ under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Internet shutdowns in India aren’t just being used to stifle the farmers’ protests but have been used excessively in Kashmir. Access was blocked for 213 days in 2020 after Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped by the Modi government.
“The leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a range of global challenges and look forward to what the United States and India will achieve together for their people and for their nations,” said the White House.
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