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In First Meeting With Modi, Kamala Harris Calls for Defense of ‘Democratic Principles and Institutions’ in India and the U.S.

In First Meeting With Modi, Kamala Harris Calls for Defense of ‘Democratic Principles and Institutions’ in India and the U.S.

  • The Indian Prime Minister congratulated the U.S. Vice President for her historic election and extended a formal invitation to visit India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris reiterated the importance of the U.S.-India partnership during their joint press appearance at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex, Sept. 23. Modi is on a three-day visit to the U.S., which includes attending the so-called Quad Summit with the leaders of Australia and Japan.

Welcoming Modi to the U.S., Harris noted in her opening remarks that India is “a very important partner” to the United States. “Throughout our history our nations have worked together, have stood together, to make our world safer and stronger.” She talked about how “our world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before.” She said, “the challenges we face today have highlighted the fact [of U.S.-India partnership] — be it COVID-19, the climate crisis and the importance of our shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

She spoke about how the U.S. and India worked together on the COVID-19 pandemic. “Early in the pandemic, India was a vital source of vaccines for other countries,” she said. “When India experienced a surge of COVID-19, the U.S. was very proud to support India in its need and responsibility to vaccinate people.” Welcoming India’s announcement that it’ll soon be able to resume vaccine exports, she congratulated India for “currently vaccinating approximately 10 million people a day as of today,” she said.

“As democracies around the world are under threat,” Harris said “it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions in our respective countries and around the world, and that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home. It is incumbent on our nations to protect democracies in the best interest of the people of our countries.”

She told Modi that from personal experience and her family, she is aware of “the commitment of the Indian people to democracy and to freedom and to the work that may be done and can be done; to imagine and then to actually achieve our vision for democratic principles and institutions.”

Modi, in his remarks, thanked the U.S; for sending help during the COVID-19 second wave. He spoke about how the Biden-Harris administration, corporate and business leaders, as well as the Indian American community, galvanized to help India. Noting that India and the U.S. are “natural partners,” Modi noted that both the countries have “similar values, similar geopolitical interests,” and a “continuously increasing” coordination and cooperation. He further noted the importance of cooperation between the two countries in the areas of strengthening the supply chain, new and emerging technologies, and space. He also mentioned “the very vibrant and strong people-to-people connections” between the two countries. He highlighted the 4 million-strong Indian community in the U.S., describing them as a “bridge of friendship” between the two countries. He lauded the Indian American community’s contribution to the economies and societies of both U.S. and India.

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He complimented Harris on being the first woman, the first Indian American, and the first African American to be elected as vice president. “Your election as vice president has been an important and historic event,” Modi said. “You are a source of inspiration for many across the world. I am confident that under President Biden and your leadership our bilateral relations will touch new heights.” He extended a formal invitation to Kamala Harris to visit India. “The people of India are waiting to welcome you.”

Earlier, Modi held bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison. He also met with executives of five companies, including two Indian Americans — Vivek Lall, Chief Executive of General Atomics Global Corporation and Shantanu Narayen, President and CEO of Adobe. According to a Ministry of External Affairs press release, Modi and Lall spoke about “strengthening the defense technology sector in India.” With Narayan, Modi discussed Adobe’s “ongoing collaboration and future investment plans in India,” as well as “India’s flagship program Digital India, and use of emerging technologies in sectors like health, education and R&D.”

On Sept. 22, exuberant members of the Indian diaspora welcomed Modi at the Andrews airbase for his three-day visit to the U.S.

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  • If PM Modi understands and implements what VP Kamala Harris has told him on the principles of Democracy. Situation in the political climate of India may change.

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