Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden welcomed a new era in US-India relations. The two global leaders promoted trade and defence agreements geared at limiting China’s influence worldwide.
During a state dinner, Biden gave a toast to their friendship and said,“Two great nations, two great friends, and two great powers. Cheers.” In reply Modi said,“You are soft spoken, but when it comes to action, you are very strong.”
The US and India never had any formal treaty-based relations and India has always been vocal about its stance, even then, the former wants New Delhi to strategically pressurize China. None of the two condemned China in a direct way, but both indirectly hit at Chinese President Xi Jinping and his government.
Speaking at the Congress, Modi said, “The dark clouds of coercion and confrontation are casting their shadow in the Indo Pacific. The stability of the region has become one of the central concerns of our partnership.”
A joint statement released by Biden and Modi after their more than two hours of private conversation warned of escalating tensions and potentially destabilising activities in the East and South China Seas and emphasised the significance of international law and freedom of navigation.
“The challenges and opportunities facing the world in this century require that India and the United States work and lead together, and we are,” Biden said as he welcomed Modi to the White House.
A number of Silicon Valley leaders attended the state dinner, which was hosted on the South Lawn of the White House in a big, lavishly constructed tent. These executives included Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, and Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI.
The Bidens adhered to a White House custom of serving guests from abroad food that had tiny echoes of home with a strong American flavour. This supper had a light Indian accent.
With 1.4 billion people and the fifth-largest economy in the world, Modi is attempting to elevate India’s position as a manufacturing and diplomatic powerhouse on the international arena while navigating tense relations with China.
It was the first time in Modi’s nine-year rule that he took questions in this style, and his participation in a White House press conference was itself a reflection of the conflicting political traditions. He answered one question each from an American and an Indian journalist who had been preselected, and he dismissed criticism of India’s record on human rights.
India’s tight connections to Russia, while Moscow is at war in Ukraine, have angered Washington. Even though Modi avoided mentioning Russia specifically, he did tell MPs that the conflict was “causing great pain in the region. Since it involves major powers, the outcomes are severe.”
Boycott of Modi’s Congress speech
The visit of Modi wasn’t without controversy. Some leftist politicians boycotted the speech to Congress, which is often a nonpartisan support of a visiting leader from an ally country, citing the Modi government’s treatment of India’s Muslim minority.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Wednesday, “I encourage my colleagues who stand for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of the press to join me in doing the same.”
The deal between the two countries announced agreements on semiconductors, vital minerals, technology, space collaboration, and sales as well as cooperation were announced.
Some of them try to lessen reliance on China by diversifying supply networks. Others attempt to control the market for cutting-edge technologies that might be used on future battlefields. They also resolved disagreements in the WTO, and India reduced some duties on American imports.
Although the US is India’s biggest commercial partner, it also has considerable trade ties to China, the EU, and its neighbours in North America.