Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to visit the US to attend on Friday the first in-person Quad Summit, being hosted by US President Joe Biden in Washington, and address the UN General Assembly in New York the next day.
It is after nearly six months that Modi is visiting a foreign country since the outbreak of Coronavirus in March 2020. He had last visited Bangladesh in March this year to join the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the neighbouring country’s independence.
This will be Modi’s fifth visit to the US since he took over as the Prime Minister in May 2014.
Apart from Modi and President Biden, the Quad Summit will be attended by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
There was a cloud of uncertainty over the summit recently after the Japanese PM decided to step down. However, President Biden prevailed on him to attend the summit, keeping in mind the global developments, especially in Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.
The summit will provide PM Modi an opportunity to hold his first in-person meeting with President Biden who took charge of the administration in Washington in January. The two leaders have spoken to each other at least thrice and were present at two important virtual events– Biden’s Climate Change Summit on 22 April and the Quad meeting on 12 March. Modi will also hold bilateral talks with his Australian and Japanese counterparts on the margins of the Quad Summit.
Issues like security of the Indo Pacific are expected to figure prominently at the summit in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness on maritime issues. The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the humanitarian crisis in the embattled country will also come up for discussions.
From Washington, Modi will travel to New York to address the UNGA. According to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, Modi will hold bilateral meetings with some of the world leaders on the sidelines of the UNGA.
The theme for this year’s general debate is “Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalise the United Nations”.