Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to ask the US not to abandon Afghanistan and keep a close vigil on the developments in the war-torn nation, during his much-anticipated bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington on Friday.
”Afghanistan is a very important issue for both India and the US… it is very important to ensure that Afghan territory is not used for terrorism against other states,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said at a media briefing ahead of the PM’s trip to the US.
Modi will leave here tomorrow for the US. He is heading a high-level delegation, which includes National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and the foreign secretary. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has already reached the US as part of the PM’s delegation.
Apart from his bilateral meeting with President Biden, Modi will attend the Quad Summit in Washington on Friday and then visit New York to address the UN General Assembly the next day. The Quad Summit will also be attended by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
Asked if the recent UK, US and Australia security pact had not diluted the Quad, the foreign secretary said the Aukus accord between the three nations was neither relevant to Quad nor would it affect its functioning.
About the Modi-Biden meeting, Shringla said this will be the PM’s first meeting in person with the US President though the two have met in the past when the latter was the Vice-President in the Barack Obama administration.
Apart from discussing ways to further enrich the global strategic partnership between their two countries in a range of areas, particularly defence and trade, the two leaders will take stock of the global developments, especially the evolving situation in Afghanistan after its takeover by the Taliban. The foreign secretary said India would stress the need to stem radicalism, extremism and cross-border terrorism in the context of the developments in Afghanistan.
They will also review the cooperation between their two countries in the Indo-Pacific region against the backdrop of China’s aggressive behaviour on maritime issues. Modi is also scheduled to meet US Vice-President Kamala Harris during his stay in Washington apart from holding a meeting with the CEOs of top American companies to attract investments in India.
After completing his engagements in Washington, the PM will leave for New York to address the UNGA. In his address, he is expected to talk about various global issues, including the challenge posed by COVID-19 to the global community and how it should unitedly fight the pandemic. He will also call for restructuring of various multilateral institutions, including the UN, keeping in view the present realities. He is also expected to hold meetings with some world leaders on the margins of the UNGA before returning home on 26 September.