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India, US natural partners with similar values, geopolitical interests: PM Modi

WASHINGTON: Pointing out similar values and geopolitical interests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that India and the US are "natural partners" and asserted that coordination and cooperation between both countries were also increasing.

PM Modi's remarks came in a joint press conference with US Vice President Kamala Harris ahead of the delegation-level talks.

"India and America being the largest and oldest democracy are natural partners. We have similar values, geopolitical interests, and our coordination and cooperation is also increasing. Strengthening supply chain, new emerging technologies, and space, are areas of special interest to you. For me, these areas are of priority. In these areas, our cooperation is important," he said.

"India and the US have very vibrant and strong people to people connections. More than 4 million people of Indian origin, the Indian community is a bridge between two countries, a bridge of two countries and their contribution to economies and societies of both our countries are indeed praiseworthy," the Prime Minister added.

This was PM Modi's first in-person meeting with Harris after she made history by becoming the first Indian-origin person to become the Vice President of America.

PM Modi, who is on a 3-day US visit, expressed his gratitude to the US for extending help when the country was hit by the second wave of COVID-19 earlier this year.

"I extend my gratitude for the warm welcome that you have extended to me and my delegation. Some months ago, we had the opportunity to talk to each other over the phone. We had a detailed discussion at that time. The way you spoke to me so warmly and naturally. I will always remember that," he said.

"It was a very difficult time when India was hit by the second wave of COVID-19. The way you expressed concern and extended a helping hand, I express my gratitude to you. I will like to thank you," he added.

Speaking further, the Prime Minister said, "Like a true friend, you had given a message of cooperation and it was full of sensitivity. Immediately after that, we found that the US government, US corporate sector and Indian community all came together to help India."

The Prime Minister's meeting with Harris came a day ahead of his highly anticipated bilateral meet with US President Joe Biden.

PM Modi praised Harris as a "source of inspiration" and said her election as Vice President of the USA has been an important and historic event.

"Your election as Vice President of the USA has been an important and historic event. 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 said.

"You and President Biden took up the leadership of the United States in a challenging atmosphere in challenging times. But within a very short period of time, you have had many achievements to your credit whether it is COVID-19, climate or the Quad. The US has taken a very important initiative in all these issues," the Prime Minister said.
PM Modi also extended an invitation to Harris to visit India.

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Washington on Wednesday for his much-touted US visit. He had earlier addressed the Global COVID-19 Summit called by US President Biden.

Biden is scheduled to host PM Modi at the White House on September 24. This is going to be the first in-person meeting between the two leaders after Biden took over as the US President on January 20.

Biden will host the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders' Summit, which will be joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

PM Modi's US visit will conclude on September 25 with an address at the United Nations General Assembly focusing on the pressing global challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to combat terrorism, climate change and other important issues.

This is Prime Minister Modi's first visit abroad beyond the neighbourhood since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. PM Modi is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and senior officials.

The high-level session of the UNGA began on Tuesday in New York. The theme for this year's General Debate is 'Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations'.


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