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From 5 Bidens in India to PM Modi’s 5 Ts, QUAD, COVID and more: Here are 4 points discussed when PM Modi and President Biden met

The US President had emphasised during the meeting that both India and the United States are capable of resolving global challenges. Joe Biden added that the relationship with India will get tighter, closer and stronger.

On Friday (September 24), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden spoke for about 20 minutes and attended over an hour-long meet in Washington. This was the first in-person meeting between the duo since Biden was elected the President of the United States in January this year. The meeting was attended by Antony Blinken (US State Secretary), EAM S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval and others.

The Quest for the missing ‘Biden’

During their meeting, Joe Biden recalled receiving a letter in 1972 from an individual named Biden in Mumbai. At that time, the incumbent US President was 28-years-old and was sworn in as a Senator. He regretted not being able to follow up on the ‘Biden’ who had supposedly married an Indian woman and settled in Mumbai. But, he added that the Indian media had then claimed about the existence of 5 such Bidens in the country.

Soon after, the US President clarified, “I said jokingly that I found out there’s a Captain George Biden who was a captain in the East Indian tea company…The end result was that he (George Biden) apparently stayed and married an Indian woman. And I have never been able to track it down… so the whole purpose of this meeting is to help me figure this out…” In a jovial tone, PM Modi said that he had brought all the necessary documents to help trace his lost family.

“You talked about Biden surnames. You had mentioned it to me earlier too. I tried to hunt for the documents and I have come with some documents. Maybe those documents can be of some use,” PM Modi added to the humour. The reporters at the Oval Office burst out into fits of laughter. “I am relieved,” Biden emphasised. Reportedly, the incumbent US President had made similar claims during his trip to India’s financial capital in 2013. He was also seen reiterating the same remarks at another event in Washington in 2015.

Shared values of democracy and diversity

Ahead of his scheduled meeting with PM Modi, Joe Biden informed that he would be hosting the Indian Prime Minister in the White House. “This morning I’m hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House for a bilateral meeting. I look forward to strengthening the deep ties between our two nations, working to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, and tackling everything from COVID-19 to climate change,” his tweet read.

The US President had emphasised during the meeting that both India and the United States are capable of resolving global challenges. Joe Biden added that the relationship with India will get tighter, closer and stronger. “Back in 2006, I had said that by 2020 India and the US will be among the closest nations in the world,” he remarked. Joe Biden also underlined that the partnership between the two countries is based on the commitment to upholding democracy and diversity.

PM Modi had tweeted, “Had an outstanding meeting with Joe Biden. His leadership on critical global issues is commendable. We discussed how India and USA will further scale-up cooperation in different spheres and work together to overcome key challenges like COVID-19 and climate change.”

PM Modi-Biden meet: Mahatma Gandhi and PM Modi’s 5Ts

Given that the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is round the corner, Joe Biden emphasised the importance of the values upheld by the ‘Father of the Nation.’ He added that the message of Gandhi towards tolerance, respect and non-violence. While the US President lay emphasis on Quad, climate change and Covid-19, PM Modi talked about the 5Ts i.e. Talent, Technology, Trade, Trusteeship and Tradition. He pointed out that the upcoming decade will bring about transformation in India-US relations and joint commitment to traditions and democratic values.

PM Modi remarked, “There are more than four million Indian Americans who are participating in the journey of the progress of America. When I look at the importance of this decade, and the role that is going to be played by this talent of the Indian Americans, I find that the people to people talent will play a greater role and Indian talent will be a full partner in this relationship. And I see that your contribution is going to be very important in this.”

The Indian Prime Minister talked about ensuring stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Highlighting the significance of technology, he pointed out the need for utilising the opportunities for the benefit of humanity. “Between India and the United States, the trade will continue to assume importance, and we find that the trade between our two countries is actually complementary. There are things that you have and there are things that we have, and then we in fact complement each other. I find that the area of trade during this decade is also going to be tremendously important,” he said on the issue of bilateral trade.

PM Modi-Biden meet: Fighting Climate Change and significance of Quad

The Indian Prime Minister also emphasised on the need to protect the planet. Citing the example of the Father of the Nation, PM Modi remarked, “Mahatma Gandhi always used to talk about the principle of trusteeship, trusteeship of the planet. It means that the planet that we have, we have to bequeath it to the following generations, and this sentiment of trusteeship is going to assume more and more importance globally, but also between the relations between India and the United States.”

While speaking on Quad, Joe Biden said that the United States, Japan, India and Australia share the same world view and are focused on resolving key challenges with a common vision. The US President, in this context, said, “Our vaccine initiative is on track to produce an additional 1 billion doses of vaccine in India to boost global supply.” PM Modi added that the Quad would play the role for global good through positive thinking and approach.

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