Modi and Biden hold a virtual meeting; India-US Ministerial dialogue follows

Five weeks after their QUAD virtual meeting, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden held another virtual meeting on April 11. The meeting comes at a crucial time in global politics, as the war rages in Ukraine.

Virtual Meeting between PM Modi and President Biden
Virtual Meeting between PM Modi and President Biden © President Biden

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar, who are in Washington DC for the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, joined the US President in person, along with their counterparts Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

What was discussed?

Reminiscing the last September’s in-person QUAD meeting, the US leader termed both US and Indian democracies vibrant and said that the countries shared the same concern in tackling COVID-19 and tracking the climate crisis.

Mr. Biden said that both countries had a strong and growing major defense partnership.

Welcoming India’s humanitarian support for the people of Ukraine, the US President lamented the shelling of a train station last week that killed several innocent people, including women and children.

Responding to Mr. Biden’s remarks, Prime Minister Modi said that he had spoken with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine multiple times and had appealed for peace and suggested direct talks between the leaders.

Mr. Modi pointed out that India had called for an independent inquiry into the killings in Bucha city, Ukraine, and hoped that the ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine would result in peace.

Mr. Modi also mentioned that India is celebrating its 75th year of Independence this year and the 75th year of establishing diplomatic relations with the US.

Indian Ministers meet their US Counterparts; Press Conference held

© Minister of External Affairs Dr. S Jaishankar

Responding to a question on whether India is doing its part against the war in Ukraine, Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar said that India has made several statements opposing the war, both at the UN and also in the country’s parliament, and repeated that India is against conflict, and is for dialogue and diplomacy, and called for an urgent cessation of violence.

Answering another part of the same question, which raised India’s continued energy purchases from Russia, Minister Jaishankar pointed out that the entire Indian energy purchases from Russia for one month would equal one afternoon’s consumption by Europe.

Responding to a question concerning India’s weapons purchases from Russia, Secretary Blinken noted that India and Russia have had a ‘long relationship’ at a time when the US was not able to partner with India and that now the US is both able and willing to be a security partner.