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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first phone conversation with US President-elect Joe Biden and they agreed to work closely to further advance the Indo-US strategic partnership, India’s External Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday. The ministry said in a statement said that Modi during the conversation on Tuesday congratulated Biden for his victory and also discussed their priorities, including containing the coronavirus pandemic, promoting access to affordable vaccines, tackling climate change and cooperating in the Indo-Pacific Region.
Modi had earlier tweeted his congratulations to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on November 8 recalling his earlier interactions with Biden, including during his official visits to the United States in 2014 and 2016. Biden had visited India in 2013 and had also chaired the Joint Session of the US Congress that was addressed by Modi during his 2016 visit to Washington.
India enjoys a strong and growing relationship with the US, with five Republican and Democrat US presidents visiting the South Asian nation in the last 10 years. India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Tuesday that ties between New Delhi and Washington will expand further under the Biden administration.
‘As vice president, we dealt with him. I happened to be the ambassador during the last phase of the Obama administration. We’d known him earlier when he was in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as the ranking Democratic member and then as the chairman,’ Jaishankar said while speaking at an online discussion organized by the think-tank Gateway House.
Meanwhile Modi has a great relationship with President Trump having hosted him in February and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Defense chief Mark Esper visiting India a week ahead of America’s November 3 presidential election where they signed an agreement expanding military satellite information-sharing and highlighted strategic cooperation between Washington and New Delhi.
Leading up to the US elections, Biden condemned the Hindu nationalist government’s citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India’s nearly 200 million Muslims.
‘These measures are inconsistent with the country’s long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy,’ Biden had said in a statement.
But analysts say India-US relationship enjoys bipartisan support, and the US wants India as a key partner in efforts to push back against China.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK