- Thousands of people gathered at the White House for a joint ceremony
- Discounts come in chips, minerals, technology, space and protection
- The Congress delegation left for India in October.
- Focus on human rights, democracy; Modi to take questions
Washington, June 22, 2010 (FBC) President Joe Biden rolled out the White House red carpet for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his bid to leapfrog strong US-India ties and continue to counter China’s global influence. defense and trade agreements.
Biden spoke to Modi in front of 7,000 people in the morning for an arrival ceremony on the White House’s South Lawn, followed by Oval Office speeches and a glittering state dinner in the evening. The two leaders had a private and intimate dinner at the White House on Wednesday evening.
“The challenges and opportunities in the world this century require India and the United States to lead together, and we are,” Biden said.
Modi said the visit was a tribute to the people of his country and the entire Indian diaspora.
“This grand welcome ceremony at the White House today is an honor and pride for the 1.4 billion people of India,” he said, partly in English and partly in Hindi. “This is a tribute to the more than 4 million people of Indian origin living in the U.S. I am deeply grateful for this honor.”
The festival-like opening ceremony featured violinist Vibha Janakiraman and a cappella group Penn Masala, American group Maroon 5 and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan performing songs from films.
In an unusual gesture, Modi agreed to take questions from reporters at the White House on Thursday. Modi has not held a news conference since becoming prime minister nine years ago, and his visits have drawn attention to human rights concerns in India.
Washington wants India to be a strategic counterweight to China and sees India as a critical partner, although some analysts and former officials doubt India is willing to stand up to Beijing on issues like Taiwan. Modi, the world’s most populous nation of 1.4 billion, is seeking to boost its influence on the world stage amid strained relations with neighboring China.
Senior Biden administration officials said the deepening agreements to be announced on semiconductors, critical minerals, technology, space cooperation and defense cooperation and sales will mark a new chapter in the relationship between the two countries.
Some of the deals are aimed at expanding supply chains to reduce dependence on China. The United States has strengthened its defense ties with countries such as India and Australia in an effort to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The two leaders will sign what one official called a “trailblazing” deal for General Electric ( GE.N ) to produce jet engines in India to power Indian military aircraft. GE said on Thursday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd ( HIAE.NS ) to manufacture the engines.
Also, according to the maritime agreement between the two governments, US Navy ships in the region can dock at Indian shipyards for repairs.
The leaders will announce India’s plan to buy US-made MQ-9B SeaGuardian unmanned aerial vehicles, US officials said. “We have now entered the ‘next generation’ defense partnership,” said one US official.
The deals include a $2.7 billion plan by U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology ( MU.O ) for a new semiconductor testing and packaging unit to be built in Modi’s home state of Gujarat. The US makes it easier for skilled Indian workers to obtain and renew US visas.
India has also agreed to join the US-led Artemis agreement on space exploration and a joint mission with NASA for the International Space Station by 2024.
AOC, Muslim Congress members for boycott.
The surge in deals comes as some lawmakers express serious concerns about democratic backsliding in India.
Biden is under pressure from fellow Democrats to discuss human rights issues with Modi. Three progressive Democrats — US Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib — said they would not approve of Modi’s address to Congress on Thursday.
“I encourage my colleagues who stand up for diversity, tolerance and freedom of the press to stand together,” Ocasio-Cortz tweeted on Wednesday.
In a statement to reporters, a US official said Biden would raise press freedom, freedom of religion and other issues “in a respectful way, without charming, talking down or criticizing”.
Activists who plan to protest during Modi’s visit said on Wednesday that Biden should publicly call the prime minister’s bill of rights. They say that the US administration’s secretive raising of issues with the Indian leader has not led to what they describe as human rights abuses in India.
Meanwhile, Republican US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that he and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries will lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to India in October, Punchbowl News reported Thursday.
Modi in 2011 Although he has been to the United States five times since becoming prime minister in 2014, the visit will be his first full diplomatic state visit.
Biden and his wife Jill were to present Modi with a vintage American camera, a print of George Eastman’s first Kodak camera patent, a book of American wildlife photography and a signed first edition of Robert Frost’s poems.
Modi will address US CEOs on Friday as US companies plan new investments in India.
On Tuesday, he met with Tesla ( TSLA.O ) chief Elon Musk in New York. Musk went on to say that he plans to make the vehicles available in India as soon as possible.
Musk said Modi is pushing the carmaker to make “big investments” in the country, adding that such an announcement is expected soon.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Nandita Bose; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Heather Timmons, Sharon Singleton and Jonathan Otis
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