Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday evening hold a virtual interaction with US President Joe Biden.
The meeting was announced on Sunday evening by the two countries. It is being seen as a significant interaction as it closely precedes the 2+2 dialogue of defence and foreign ministers of the two countries later in the day. Here is everything you need to know about the meeting and its significance in 10 points.
Modi-Biden meeting will set the tone for 2+2 dialogue
Modi and Biden will hold their interaction around 8:30 pm IST, around three hours before Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will meet their US counterparts as part of the 2+2 dialogue, according to reports.
It’s therefore believed that the meeting will set the tone for the ministerial dialogue.
Ukraine to figure prominently in the discussion
This is the first meeting between Modi and Biden since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. The situation in Ukraine will be a subject of discussion in the meeting, which will also figure prominently in the 2+2 dialogue.
Discussions on Ukraine will be complicated with the Indian relationship with Russia and the Indian stand on the Ukraine war. While India has called for cessation of hostilities and dialogue as a way forward, there has been no outright condemnation so far, though New Delhi “unequivocally condemned” reported Russian atrocities in Ukraine’s Bucha.
Biden will try to persuade India to take a harsher line on Russia in light of its invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press has reported.
‘Destabilising’ effect of Ukraine war to be discussed
The disruption of food-supplies and prices of various commodities because of the ongoing Ukraine war will be discussed by Modi and Biden.
"President Biden will continue our close consultations on the consequences of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and mitigating its destabilising impact on global food supply and commodity markets," said White House in their statement.
Besides Ukraine, Indo-Pacific, COVID-19, climate crisis to feature in the meeting
The White House in a statement said the two leaders will discuss ending the COVID-19 pandemic, countering the climate crisis, strengthening the global economy, and various issues concerning the Indo-Pacific region.
Modi to discuss South-Asia developments with Biden
The meeting is taking place within days of the ouster of Imran Khan’s removal as prime minister of Pakistan. This has led to reports that the development might feature in Modi’s meeting with Biden. This found a mention in the Indian official statement as well.
“The two Leaders will review ongoing bilateral cooperation and exchange views on recent developments in South Asia, the Indo-Pacific region and global issues of mutual interest,” said the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.
This is also likely to include the ongoing Sri Lankan financial crisis.
India’s ties with Russia will be under lens
Outlook’s Seema Guha wrote earlier regarding the 2+2 meeting, “There will be a major push from the US to get India to decrease its dependence on Russian arms and energy.
“The US will play good cop bad cop in trying to pressurise India. The stakes are high for India and it will not wish to offend the US. However, national interest will count first.”
White House has said US doesn’t want India to increase Russian imports
Before the announcement of today’s meeting, White House said that the US does not want India to increase Russian imports.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week, “We do not think India should accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy and other commodities even as, obviously, those decisions are made by individual countries.
“And (the US is) also making clear that we stand ready to support India as in any efforts to diversify its imports and serve as a reliable supplier even as they're only importing about one to two per cent of their oil from Russia."
China will be part of the discussions
While China has not been explicitly mentioned, it has been reported that China is bound to be part of Modi and Biden’s discussions as both sides have mentioned discussions of Indo-Pacific in detail and China is the principal challenger to the Indian and US vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Cooperation in education and space sectors likely to be discussed
Besides international affairs such as the Ukraine war and the issue of Russia, Modi and Biden are also likely to discuss aspects of bilateral relationship such as cooperation in the spheres of education and space, according to reports.
The meeting is the latest in a flurry of international engagement with Delhi
The Modi-Biden meeting is the latest in a line of international diplomatic activity centred at Delhi. Top officials from Western countries, as well as the Russian foreign minister, have visited India recently to persuade New Delhi to lean to their side in the ongoing global churning.
From the US, top officials such as Deputy NSA Daleep Singh to US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland have recently engaged with New Delhi.
With PTI, AP inputs