Biden says looks forward to working closely with Modi on shared global challenges, including COVID


PTI, Nov 18, 2020, 9:41 AM IST

Washington: US President-elect Joe Biden has said that he looks forward to working closely with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on shared global challenges, including containing COVID-19, launching the global economic recovery and maintaining a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, according to his transition.

This was the first interaction between the two leaders after Democrat Biden defeated incumbent Republican president Donald Trump in the November 3 US presidential election.

According to the Biden-Harris Transition, “the president-elect noted that he looks forward to working closely with the prime minister on shared global challenges, including containing COVID-19 and defending against future health crises, tackling the threat of climate change, launching the global economic recovery, strengthening democracy at home and abroad, and maintaining a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region”.

Biden thanked Modi for his congratulations and “expressed his desire to strengthen and expand the US-India strategic partnership alongside the first vice president of South Asian descent,” said a readout of the call.

Earlier on Tuesday, Modi said in a tweet that he “spoke to US President-elect Joe Biden on phone to congratulate him. We reiterated our firm commitment to the Indo-US strategic partnership and discussed our shared priorities and concerns — COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region”.

The prime minister also conveyed his congratulations to US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

“Her success is a matter of great pride and inspiration for members of the vibrant Indian-American community, who are a tremendous source of strength for Indo-US relations,” Modi said.

Harris, the daughter of an Indian immigrant from Chennai, has created history by becoming the first Black American woman to be elected as the country’s Vice President.

While Indian-origin politicians have been elected as heads of the state in various parts of the world in the last several decades, from Mauritius to Fiji, Harris, 56, as the vice president of the United States would be the most powerful politician ever.

The Prime Minister”s Office (PMO), in a statement on Tuesday, said that Modi congratulated Biden on his election, describing it as a testament to the strength and resilience of democratic traditions in the United States.

The prime minister warmly recalled his earlier interactions with Biden, including during his official visits to the US in 2014 and 2016, it said.

Biden is known to be a strong proponent of closer India-US ties since his days as a senator in the 1970s and played a key role in getting the approval of the Senate for the bilateral civil nuclear deal in 2008.

In the midst of hectic negotiations between the two countries to conclude the civil nuclear deal, Biden was a critical ally of India in the Senate.

The deal had laid a strong foundation for the deepening of ties between the two leading democracies of the world.

The strategic and defence ties between India and the US witnessed major expansion during Barack Obama”s presidency and Biden, as the vice president, had played a key role in it.

In his campaign documents, Biden spoke about his vision for the US-India partnership as well as on standing with India in facing threats in the region.

Biden also had separate congratulatory calls with leaders in Chile, Israel and South Africa.

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