May 25, 2022
NEW DELHI – US President Joe Biden today told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he was committed to making the Indo-US partnership ”among the closest we have on earth” as the two leaders launched an India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to facilitate outcome-oriented cooperation and extended the longstanding Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) until 2027.
Meeting on the margins of the Quad Summit in Tokyo, the two leaders discussed a range of bilateral issues as well as global developments. They exchanged views on regional issues of mutual interest including South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region, reaffirming their shared vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
In a readout on the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) did not clarify if the war in Ukraine also figured prominently during the meeting. Biden, however, did say in his opening remarks that the two countries would continue to consult closely on how to mitigate the negative effects of the Russia-Ukraine war on the world order. Modi, lauding the strategic partnership with the US as one of trust in “the true sense”, said, “Our common interests and values have strengthened this bond of trust between our two countries.”
“Mr Prime Minister, there is so much that our countries can and will do together. I’m committed to making the US-India partnership among the closest we have on earth.” “I’m pleased that we’ve reached an agreement for US Development Finance Corporation to continue the important work in India, supporting vaccine production, and clean energy initiatives. I’m glad we’re renewing the Indo-US Vaccine Action Program,” President Biden said.
The meeting, the MEA said, resulted in substantive outcomes which would add depth and momentum to the bilateral partnership.
The meeting marks a continuation of the regular high-level dialogue between the two leaders who met in person in September 2021 in Washington and interacted at the G20 and COP26 Summits thereafter. Most recently they had a virtual interaction on 11 April.
The two leaders welcomed the signing of the Investment Incentive Agreement which enables the US Development Finance Corporation to continue providing investment support in India in sectors of shared priority such as healthcare, renewable energy, SMEs, infrastructure etc.
The proposed iCET is expected to facilitate outcome-oriented cooperation. Co-led by the National Security Council Secretariat in India and the U.S. National Security Council, it would forge closer linkages between the government, academia and industry of the two countries in areas such as AI, quantum computing, 5G/6G, biotech, space and semiconductors.
Noting that defence and security cooperation was a crucial pillar of the India-US bilateral agenda, President Biden and PM Modi discussed how the two countries could further strengthen collaboration. In this context, Modi invited the US industry to partner with India to manufacture in India under the Make in India and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India programmes which can be of mutual benefit to both countries.
Taking forward their growing collaboration in the health sector, the two leaders extended the longstanding Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) until 2027 to continue joint biomedical research which had resulted in the development of vaccines and related technologies.
To bolster the strong people to people linkages between the two countries, the Indian leader called for strengthening higher education collaborations which can be of mutual benefit.
Modi welcomed the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) yesterday and stated that India was ready to work closely with all partner countries.