Joe Biden and Narendra Modi praise the ‘defining’ US-India relationship.
US President Joe Biden praised the strong ties between the US and India as he got ready for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on Thursday.
This included military bands, a big vegetarian dinner, and a 21-gun salute on the South Lawn of the White House.
During his state visit, Mr. Modi also spoke to the US Congress, where he got a standing ovation.
Before Mr. Modi became PM, the US did not give him a visa because of worries about human rights. Now, the US sees him as a key ally.
Washington has always seen India as a check on China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific, but Delhi has never been completely happy with that label.
Mr. Modi did not name China when he spoke to Congress, but he did talk about “dark clouds of coercion and confrontation casting their shadow over the Indo-Pacific.”
Mr. Modi also didn’t say anything about Russia or who started the war. Instead, he said, “War has come back to Europe with the Ukraine conflict.”
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Analysts say that the main reason India hasn’t directly criticized Russia so far is that it depends so much on Russian defense imports and has “time-tested ties” with Moscow.
This has made it hard for Washington and Delhi to get along, but Mr. Biden decided to talk about the good, saying that ties between the two countries are stronger than ever. He even said it was “one of the relationships that will define the 21st century.”
Mr. Modi agreed and told the US Congress that this was a meeting of the world’s two biggest democracies. He also said that the relationship between the two countries would “help make the whole world stronger.”
He also said that a “new chapter” had been added to the strategic relationship between the two countries.
But not everyone was happy about it.
The Indian prime minister is getting more and more flak for putting an end to protests. His Hindu nationalist government has also been accused of not doing enough to stop bloodshed and discrimination against minorities. Even though Mr. Modi’s trip to the US has been met with protests, it has also been welcomed by a large and powerful diaspora, which includes many Silicon Valley CEOs.
Several liberal Democrats, on the other hand, didn’t go to Congress to hear him speak. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of them. She said on Twitter that people with “deeply troubling human rights records” shouldn’t be given state visits, which are the highest level of foreign protocol in the US.
Aside from the parades and other showy things, there was also growth in trade.
The two countries decided to end six disputes that were still going on at the World Trade Organization. They also said that they would make deals with General Electric and Micron.
Mr. Modi also did something almost never seen since he became India’s prime minister in 2014: he answered questions from reporters.
When asked about human rights issues in India, he said that “democracy runs in our veins” and that there is “absolutely no space for discrimination” in India, even as protesters gathered outside the White House to oppose his visit.