Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden on Friday 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.
In their over 50-minute talks, the two leaders deliberated on India's G20 presidency, cooperation in nuclear energy, critical and emerging technologies such as 6G and artificial intelligence, and ways to fundamentally reshape multilateral development banks.
Both stressed the importance of the Quad grouping in supporting a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific. A joint statement issued after bilateral talks between the two leaders also said the Prime Minister looked forward to welcoming the US President to the next Quad Leaders' Summit to be hosted by India in 2024.
The Quad, comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia, has been focusing on practical cooperation to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's increasing military muscle-flexing in the region.
Strategic Partnership across all dimensions
The leaders called on their governments to continue the work of transforming the India-U.S. Strategic Partnership across all dimensions of our multifaceted global agenda, based on trust and mutual understanding. The leaders re-emphasized 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.
The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the G20 and expressed confidence that the outcomes of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi will advance the shared goals of accelerating sustainable development, bolstering multilateral cooperation, and building global consensus around inclusive economic policies to address our greatest common challenges, including fundamentally reshaping and scaling up multilateral development banks.
Open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific
Prime Minister Modi and President Biden also pledged to sustain the high level of engagement between their governments, industries, and academic institutions and realize their ambitious vision for an enduring India-US partnership that advances the aspirations of their people for a bright and prosperous future, serves the global good, and contributes to a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific, the statement said.
The joint statement was issued after comprehensive talks between Modi and Biden to further economic and people-to-people bilateral linkages with the Prime Minister asserting that the friendship between the two nations will continue to play a great role in furthering global good.
Biden affirms support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member
President Biden reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member, and, in this context, welcomed once again India’s candidature for the UNSC non-permanent seat in 2028-29.
The leaders once again underscored the need to strengthen and reform the multilateral system so it may better reflect contemporary realities and remain committed to a comprehensive UN reform agenda, including through expansion in permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of the UN Security Council.
India, US begin talks to send Indian astronaut to International Space Station next year
President Biden congratulated Prime Minister Modi and the scientists and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Chandrayaan-3’s historic landing at the south polar region of the Moon, as well as the successful launch of India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1.
Having set a course to reach new frontiers across all sectors of space cooperation, the leaders welcomed efforts towards the establishment of a Working Group for commercial space collaboration under the existing India-U.S. Civil Space Joint Working Group. Determined to deepen our partnership in outer space exploration, ISRO and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have commenced discussions on modalities, capacity building, and training for mounting a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024, and are continuing efforts to finalise a strategic framework for human space flight cooperation by the end of 2023.
US semiconductor firm to invest $300 million in India
The leaders reiterated their support for building resilient global semiconductor supply chains, noting in this respect a multi-year initiative of Microchip Technology, Inc., to invest approximately US$300 million in expanding its research and development presence in India and Advanced Micro Device’s announcement to invest US$400 million in India over the next five years to expand research, development, and engineering operations in India.
MoUs to invest in 6G networks
Sharing a vision of secure and trusted telecommunications, resilient supply chains, and global digital inclusion, Prime Minister Modi and President Biden welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bharat 6G Alliance and Next G Alliance, operated by Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, as a first step towards deepening public-private cooperation between vendors and operators.
Minimisation of the digital divide
The leaders affirmed the importance of efforts to close the gender digital divide in the digital economy, noting a G20 commitment to halve the digital gender gap by 2030 and expressed support for the Women in the Digital Economy Initiative, which brings together governments, private sector companies, foundations civil society and multilateral organizations to accelerate progress toward the closure of the digital gender divide.
Discusssion of GE jet engines
The leaders welcomed the completion of the Congressional Notification process on 29 August 2023 and the commencement of negotiations for a commercial agreement between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) to manufacture GE F-414 jet engines in India, and recommitted to work collaboratively and expeditiously to support the advancement of this unprecedented co-production and technology transfer proposal.
President Biden welcomed the issuance of a Letter of Request from the Ministry of Defence of India to procure 31 General Atomics MQ-9B (16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian) remotely piloted aircraft and their associated equipment, which will enhance the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of India’s armed forces across all domains.
Biden's visit to India
It is worth mentioning that this is President Biden’s first visit to India as US President. The last US President to visit India was Donald Trump in February 2020. India welcomed the US decision to co-lead the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative Pillar on Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport, further to the US decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) in June 2023, it said.
Continuing to share the view that global governance must be more inclusive and representative, President Biden also reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member, and, in this context, welcomed once again India’s candidature for the UNSC non-permanent seat in 2028-29, the statement said.
The leaders also underscored the need to strengthen and reform the multilateral system so it may better reflect contemporary realities and remain committed to a comprehensive UN reform agenda, including through expansion in permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of the UN Security Council, it said.
(With inputs from agency)