New Delhi: In his first phone conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after assuming office, new US President Joe Biden clearly told him that he wishes to “defend democratic institutions and norms around the world”, adding that “a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the US—India relationship”, the United States said on Tuesday.
With PM Modi also inviting the US First Couple to visit India, New Delhi too issued a statement that said both nations “noted that the India-US partnership is firmly anchored in a shared commitment to democratic values and common strategic interests”. In a veiled common message to China, both India and the US also “reiterated the importance of working with like-minded countries to ensure a rules-based international order and a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region”. A veiled message to Pakistan was also sent, with both countries resolving to “stand together against the scourge of global terrorism”.
But interestingly, the US Statement on the phone conversation mentioned that the two leaders “resolved that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld in Burma” (Myanmar), while the Indian statement made no mention of eastern neighbour Myanmar where a military coup took place recently. It is also to be noted that the phone conversation took place just days after the US issued a statement on the recent farmers’ protests in India.
In its statement, New Delhi said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephone conversation today with His Excellency Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States of America. Prime Minister warmly congratulated President Biden, conveyed best wishes for his tenure, and looked forward to working closely with him to further elevate the India-US Strategic Partnership.”
India added, “The leaders discussed at length regional developments and the wider geo-political context. They noted that the India-US partnership is firmly anchored in a shared commitment to democratic values and common strategic interests. They reiterated the importance of working with like-minded countries to ensure a rules-based international order and a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
New Delhi further said, “PM (Modi) and President Biden affirmed the importance of addressing the challenge of global climate change. Prime Minister welcomed President Biden’s decision to re-commit to the Paris Agreement and highlighted the ambitious targets India has set for itself in the area of renewable energy. The PM welcomed President Biden’s initiative to organise the Climate Leaders Summit in April this year and looked forward to participating in the same. Prime Minister took the opportunity to invite President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden to visit India at their earliest convenience.”
In its own statement, the United States said, “President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, committing that the United States and India will work closely together to win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, renew their partnership on climate change, rebuild the global economy in a way that benefits the people of both countries, and stand together against the scourge of global terrorism. The leaders agreed to continuing close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, including support for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad.”
The US added, “The President underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a hared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the U.S.-India relationship. They further resolved that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld in Burma. The leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a range of global challenges and look forward to what the United States and India will achieve together for their people and for their nations.”