Ahead of the first meeting between Indian-origin United States Vice President Kamala Harris and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House said that democracy, human rights, climate change will be among other issues that the two will discuss. Sources from the White House also said the meeting will serve to "reinforce" the strategic partnership between the two countries.
“This meeting will build upon their June 3 telephone conversation addressing the COVID response. They plan to discuss democracy, human rights, climate, and global health issues,” a White House official said on condition of anonymity.
“On Thursday, the Vice President will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reinforce the strategic partnership between the United States and India,” the official said.
According to the official, as President Joe Biden delivered his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Harris plans to continue her work to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda to rebuild “our alliances and restore America's global leadership.
“The Vice President will lead a session at the multinational summit hosted by President Biden on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and hold four bilateral meetings with leaders from around the world,” the official said.
Later in the day, Harris is scheduled to meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to convey appreciation for the longstanding friendship and shared values between the US and the UK.
She will also affirm the Biden administration’s goal of expanding cooperation with the United Kingdom to address a wide range of issues, including geopolitical threats, global health challenges, and climate change, said the official.
On Wednesday, Harris will lead a session focused on building back better to prepare for and prevent future pandemics, the White House official said.
This past Spring, she called for a global health security fund to address major gaps in financing for pandemic preparedness. This fund would allow governments, private sector donors, development banks, and foundations to combine resources to support disease surveillance, biosafety and biosecurity, workforce training, and immunisation programmes.
“In her remarks on Wednesday, the Vice President will announce advancements on this initiative,” said the official.
Harris will meet with the President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema on Wednesday; and with the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, on Thursday.
“These meetings are intended to deepen partnerships in Africa and promote good governance, shared prosperity, and security among our nations,” said the official, adding that Harris will also focus on the importance of democratic institutions, global health security, upholding universal rights, equitable economic growth, and expanded trade that benefits both the US and Africa.
“The Vice President’s schedule this week reflects her role as trusted partner to the President and builds on her work to advance the Administration’s global agenda,” said the White House official.
Since taking office, she has met with or spoken to over thirty world leaders, promoting US interests on issues ranging from global health to climate change to cyber threats, the official added.
Harris has addressed the global stage on the urgent need to strengthen our democracies to better collectively respond to the threats of the time. Last month, she travelled to Singapore and Vietnam to underscore American partnerships and to advance the country’s strategic and economic interests in the region, said the White House official.
(With inputs from PTI)