New momentum created in India-US ties, says PM Modi during virtual meet with President Biden

New Delhi, April 11 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the India-US 2+2 talks are taking place at a time when the situation in Ukraine is very worrying, even as he said that India’s friendship with America “will be an integral part of India’s development journey over the next 25 years”. In his remarks during the virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden ahead of the meeting between their foreign and defence ministers in Washington, PM Modi recalled the US President’s remarks during their in-person meeting in September last year. “When I was in Washington in September, you had said at the time that the India-US partnership can contribute to solving a lot of global problems,” Modi remarked. His remarks came as US President Biden said that the US and India “are going to continue our close consultations on how to manage in stabilising the effects of this Russian war”. Biden said that as two vibrant democracies the two countries share the same concerns about the global challenges, including Covid 19, advancing health security, tracking the climate crisis. “We share a strong and growing defence partnership,” he remarked. “At the root of our partnership is the deep connection between our people, ties of family of friendship and our shared values,” Biden said and welcomed India’s humanitarian support to Ukraine. “I want to welcome India’s humanitarian support for the people of Ukraine,” Biden said, and referred to the “tragic shelling” on the Kramatorsk train station last week that killed dozens of people in Ukraine. Biden said the continued consultations and dialogue between the two sides “are key to ensuring the US-India relationship continues to grow deeper and stronger, delivering to our people and for global good that we are seeking to manage, particularly in your part of the world.” PM Modi said their deliberations would provide direction to the 2+2 discussions between their foreign and defence ministers. “As two democracies that are the world’s largest and oldest, we are natural partners, and the progress that has taken place in our relations in the last few years, the new momentum that has been created would have been hard to even imagine a few decades ago,” PM Modi said. Referring to the Ukraine situation and the evacuation of Indians, he said: ”A few weeks ago 20,000 Indians were stuck in Ukraine, and most were young students. After a lot of hard work we were successful in getting them all out safely. One student however, lost his life.” “During this entire process I spoke several times on the phone to the presidents of both Ukraine and Russia, I not only appealed for peace but also suggested that there be direct between President Putin and the President of Ukraine,” he said. Modi also said that the Indian parliament had held extensive discussions on Ukraine. He referred to the killings in Bucha in Ukraine, and said India had instantly condemned the killings and has called for an independent enquiry. He hoped that the ongoing discussions between Russia and Ukraine will lead to peace. “We have also emphasised the importance of the security of civilians in Ukraine and the unhindered supply of humanitarian assistance to them. You mentioned this in fact. “On our part we have sent medicines and other relief material to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries. And on Ukraine’s request we will be sending them another consignment of medicines very soon,” he added. He referred to a slogan of President Biden that “democracies can deliver” and said that the “success of the India-America partnership is the best means to make this slogan meaningful.” Modi also said that while India is celebrating 75 years of its independence the two countries are also marking the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. “I am confident that our friendship with America will be an integral part of India’s development journey over the next 25 years.” RN

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