By Shweta Aggarwal
Signalling their joint resolve to steer the India-US relationship to a higher trajectory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual interaction just hours ahead of the 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries on April 11.
This is the first time a leaders-level interaction will be held ahead of the 2+2 dialogue.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine will feature prominently in discussion, but the focus will be more on generating a semblance of convergences, rather than divergences, said Manish Chand, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and India and The World magazine. India will not capitulate to the US pressure to name and shame Russia, but PM Modi could signal India’s growing outrage at civilian killings by condemning Bucha massacre, said Chand, a well-known foreign affairs analyst.
The overarching message that will emanate from the Modi-Biden virtual talks will revolve around mutual reaffirmation of the pivotal importance of India-US relations amid global turmoil triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war, said Mr Chand, also founder of Centre for Global India Insights (CGII), a think tank focused on global affairs.
The two leaders will review ongoing bilateral cooperation and exchange views on recent developments in South Asia, the Indo-Pacific region and global issues of mutual interest, said India’s external affairs ministry in a curtain-raiser statement. The virtual meeting will enable both sides to continue their regular and high-level engagement aimed at further strengthening the bilateral Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, it said.
According to the White House, “President Biden will continue close consultations on the consequences of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and mitigating its destabilising impact on global food supply and commodity markets”.
The Modi-Biden virtual interaction will be followed by 2+2 dialogue between India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with their US counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in Washington DC.
The first 2+2 dialogue under the Biden administration will focus on enhancing defence industry and energy collaboration between India and the US, with the US side sharing a plan on New Delhi reducing its dependence on Moscow for weapons.
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