Washington, Sep 24: Prime Minister NarendraModi has described India and America as “natural partners” as he held the first in-person meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House during which they decided to further cement the Indo-US strategic partnership and discussed global issues of common interest, including threats to democracy, Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.
“India and America are natural partners. We have similar values, similar geopolitical interests,” Modi said in a joint media appearance with Harris on Thursday, the first-ever person of Indian origin to be elected as the vice-president of the United States.
Noting that India and the US are the largest and oldest democracies, Modi said the two countries share values and their coordination and cooperation is also gradually increasing.
Both the leaders appreciated that the bilateral relationship is on a sound footing, Foreign Secretary Harsh VardhanShringla told reporters here while giving details of the meeting that lasted for an hour.
This is the first meeting between the two leaders. Harris had earlier spoken with Modi over the phone in June during the COVID-19 crisis in India.
“You are the source of inspiration for so many people across the world. I am completely confident that our bilateral relationship will touch new heights under President Biden and your leadership,” Modi told Harris.
Later in tweet, Modi said, “Glad to have met @VP@KamalaHarris. Her feat has inspired the entire world. We talked about multiple subjects that will further cement the India-USA friendship, which is based on shared values and cultural linkages.”
The two leaders were wearing masks as they both spoke in front of a battery of pool reporters from both India and the US.
Modi invited the 56-year-old Democratic leader and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff to visit India.
“Both President Biden and you assumed office at a time when our planet faced very tough challenges. In a short time you have had many achievements to your credit be it COVID-19, climate change or the Quad,” Modi said.
On Friday, Vice President Harris said on Twitter that she met Prime Minister Modi to reaffirm the bilateral strategic partnership.
“I met with Prime Minister @NarendraModi to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the United States and India. Working together, we can make progress on important global issues, from the COVID-19 pandemic, to the climate crisis, to strengthening and defending democracy,” she said in the tweet.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the two leaders exchanged views on recent global developments, including in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
The two leaders discussed the COVID-19 situation in their countries, including ongoing efforts to contain the pandemic through expedited vaccination efforts, and ensuring supply of critical medicines, therapeutics and healthcare equipment, it said.