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Modi, Biden talk semiconductors, defence and UNSC reform in bilateral meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden picked up from where they left off in June during their bilateral meeting on Friday in advance of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi.

“The leaders called on their governments to continue the work of transforming the India-U.S. Strategic Partnership across all dimensions of our multifaceted global agenda, based on trust and mutual understanding,” reads a joint statement released by the White House after their meeting.

Defence cooperation received a boost during Modi’s June state visit to America after General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the manufacture of GE F-414 jet engines in India, for HAL’s Light Combat Aircraft Mk 2. The deal cleared the notification process required by US Congress with no objections raised, which means that both governments can now negotiate the terms of the agreement. It is expected to involve significant transfer of technology to India. Modi and Biden also spoke of India’s intent to purchase MQ-9B Predator drones from US firm General Atomics. The two leaders also welcomed India’s role as a repair and maintenance hub for US Navy vessels and increased efforts to bring private players in the defence industry together.

Semiconductors, which have been a key strategic focus for both countries, also featured in the talks. “The leaders reiterated their support for building resilient global semiconductor supply chains, noting in this respect a multi-year initiative of Microchip Technology, Inc., to invest approximately US$300 million in expanding its research and development presence in India and Advanced Micro Device’s announcement to invest US$400 million in India over the next five years to expand research, development, and engineering operations in India,” reads the US-India joint statement.

These moves came after major investments were announced by firms like Micron, LAM Research and Applied Materials in India’s semiconductor ecosystem during Modi’s June visit.

Scientific collaboration, from space exploration and quantum to biotechnology, was also a focus of the discussions. Biden also congratulated Modi for India’s success with the Chandrayaan 3 mission. Cooperation on 56, 6G and advanced technologies also took place.

India and the United States (US) had agreed to resolve seven disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO) after a meeting between the countries’ leaders, prime minister Narendra Modi and president Joe Biden in June. Of this, six WTO disputes were mutually resolved after the prime minister’s visit to the US. Among them ,three were initiated by the US and the other three by India and involved measures on solar cells and solar modules, the renewable energy sector, as well as measures on steel and aluminum products. Both countries then moved towards resolving the seventh dispute, over poultry products.

In an important move, Biden also reiterated America’s support to India for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, which has been a long-standing demand from New Delhi. He also expressed support for India’s candidature for another term in the UNSC as a non-permanent member in 2028-29.

The two also discussed democracy and human rights during their meeting. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had indicated prior to the bilateral meeting that president Biden would bring up these issues.

“The leaders re-emphasized that the shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights, inclusion, pluralism, and equal opportunities for all citizens are critical to the success our countries enjoy and that these values strengthen our relationship,” the joint statement reads.

The two leaders also discussed the upcoming G20 Summit, where the two countries will be part of discussions to reform multilateral development banks, secure increased climate financing and provide debt relief to developing countries.

On Friday, Prime Minister Modi also met with Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh. On Saturday, Modi is expected to hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the UK, Japan, Germany and Italy. On Sunday, he will hold a lunch meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Besides this, meetings are planned with Canada, the UAE, South Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, Comoros and Türkiye.

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Updated: 08 Sep 2023, 11:13 PM IST

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