India-US ties going much deeper, reflected in PM Modi-Biden equation, says Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Indian Ambassador to the US

Washington: Following first-ever Quad virtual summit, Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu emphasised that the relations between New Delhi and Washington is going “much deeper”. Justifying his statement the Indian ambassador added, “this was very much reflected in the equation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden in the Friday’s virtual meet.” 

The virtual meet attended by members of Quad, a strategic forum comprising India, Japan, Australia and the United States of America, has firmly set a “democratic diamond” around China. 

Following the 90-minute long summit, the leaders of the four countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, jointly-penned down, strong worded opinion article in The Washington Post.

“There are a lot of challenges right now which are international in nature like-minded countries need to come together to face them and the quad was one such platform,” Sandhu said as per ANI reports.

While reflecting on the cooperation and similar vision of the four democracies, Sandhu added, “The United States is bringing in technology. India has a vaccine production capability, and Japan is financing. And of course, Australia is coming in with logistics–there are three clear areas: health care and vaccine production; the second is IT and the third is climate change.”

The virtual Quad summit is also marked as US president Joe Biden’s first multilateral leaders’ meeting since taking office.

Political diplomatic experts stated that the United State’s move to propose a virtual summit be held of the four Quad leaders was clearly prioritised. The proposal itself came after several rounds of meetings at the Foreign Minister level.

The meet was the first face-to-face interaction between PM Modi and Joe Biden. “Prime Minister Modi, it’s great to see you,” Biden said while greeting the Indian leader as he welcomed him to speak at the summit. “India-US relationship is going much deeper, and this was very much reflected in the equation between Prime Minister Modi and President Biden,” said Ambassador Sandhu. 

The ambassador also recalled the PM Modi’s visit to the US in 2014 and 2016 and said, “The equation between Prime Minister Modi and the then Vice President Biden was extremely good, not only at the lunch he (Biden) hosted in 2014, but also in the 2016 joint session of Congress, where, Vice President Biden had presided.”

“Coming back to Quad again, you have to just see the public viewing of the first five minutes, and I think you can see the general atmosphere that was very good amongst all the leaders,” the envoy added.

The Quad leaders agreed to conduct another meet before the end of the year. Meanwhile, New Delhi is expected to conduct discussions over intended steps to take forward the Quad initiative, with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visiting India.

“This visit is a reflection of the importance which the United States accords to India, and the origins of our bilateral relationship. Defense Secretary Austin is going to be the first senior Cabinet Minister visiting India and India looking forward to this,” Ambassador Sandhu concluded.

Additionally, the Quad countries pledged to work with other countries who share the same goals and ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are administered throughout the region till 2022. 

“Now, in this new age of interconnection and opportunity throughout the Indo-Pacific, we are again summoned to act together in support of a region in need,” the four leaders of Quad wrote for The Washington Post.

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