Biden, Modi discuss democracy, technology in meeting ahead of G20 summit

Students give final touches to paintings of U.S. President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at an art school in Mumbai ahead of the two-day G20 summit in New Delhi, Sept. 5, 2023.

Punit Paranjpe | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden kicked off his visit to India with a private meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where the leaders discussed democracy and joint technology and infrastructure projects.

In a joint statement after the meeting at Modi’s home, the leaders agreed to continue action on many fronts, including semiconductors, higher education, reducing carbon emissions, 5G and 6G technology and shipping lane access in the Indo-Pacific.

Kurt Campbell, a Biden advisor on the Indo-Pacific, said the two leaders have formed a growing bond “over a series of meetings and shared projects and ambitions over the last several years.”

Biden is in New Delhi for the Group of 20 summit and does not have any other formal bilateral meetings scheduled aside from his visit with Modi but will mingle with world leaders at the summit. The president in June hosted Modi at a lavish state dinner at the White House.

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“The fact that the United States — probably the country that India has invested the most in deepening and developing a relationship with — showed up and is engaged in every major initiative that will be rolled out over the next couple of days was worth reassuring and gratifying for Indian interlocutors and that was not lost on us,” Campbell said.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also participated in the meeting on the U.S. side, according to the White House. The Indian delegation included External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Campbell said it was a “disappointment for India” that the leaders of China and Russia skipped the summit but noted “there are undeniable opportunities here for the United States.”

“We fully intend to strengthen and deepen our relationship,” Campbell said. “We leave it to China, in particular, to discuss and explain why they’re not here.”

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