AGENCIES (KATHMANDU, 9 February 2021) – US President Joe Biden has emphasised to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his “desire” was “defend democratic institutions and norms around the world”, the White House said on Tuesday.
Their agenda were climate change, Myanmar and the Indo-Pacific and have shared their concerns on them. In a tweet that announced the conversation, Modi said that they had discussed “regional issues” and agreed to “further co-operation against climate change”.
He added that the two leaders were “committed to a rules-based international order”. “We look forward to consolidating our strategic partnership to further peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond”.
The White House readout issued after two hours gave more details. It stated Biden committed to both countries working close together on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery and fight against global terrorism.
“The leaders agreed to continuing close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, including support for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad.”
The MEA statement also noted that they “reiterated the importance of working with like-minded countries to ensure a rules-based international order and a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region”.
Stressing that Biden would be vocal about promoting democratic principles, the White House stated, “The President underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the U.S.-India relationship.”
The Indian readout refers to democracy in context of both leaders having agreed “that the India-US partnership is firmly anchored in a shared commitment to democratic values and common strategic interests”.
While mentioning about global issues on the agenda, the White House singled out Myanmar, where protests have broken out after the military takeover and detention of ruling party leaders. “They further resolved that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld in Burma”.
The Indian prime minister also extended an invitation to Biden and his wife to visit India “at their earliest convenience”.
The last time that they had spoken was in November, two weeks after Biden won the presidential elections.
The phone conversation takes place after the US state department had commented last week on the farmers’ protests. “We recognize that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy, and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same,” said the state department’s statement, which added that it encouraged all parties to resolve differences through dialogue.
The US statement had also acknowledged that Washington had always advocated for agriculture reforms.