Australian Economy

In Modi’s Talks with US, Australian, Japanese Counterparts, Ukraine, Defence, Technology Dominate

New Delhi: With topics ranging from Ukraine to strengthening defence ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s discussions with his counterparts from the United States, Japan and Australia focussed on strengthening bilateral relations.

After the Quad summit, Modi’s first bilateral meeting was with US President Joe Biden, where they seemed to have continued with their talks on Ukraine.

In his remarks before the media at the start of the talks, President Biden said that both countries were “going to continue consulting closely on how to mitigate” the negative impact of the Ukrainian war on food and energy security.

“I’m looking forward to continuing our conversation today. Mr Prime Minister, there’s so much that our countries can and will do together, and I am committed to making the US-India partnership among the closest we have on earth,” he said.

Biden said he was pleased that the two countries reached an agreement for the US Development Finance Corporation to continue the vital work in India, supporting vaccine production and clean energy initiatives.

“I am glad that we are renewing the Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Modi reciprocated that both India and US share “similar views” on the Indo-Pacific. “And at the bilateral level, as well as with like-minded countries, we continue to work to protect our common concerns.”

According to the White House readout, the two countries announced India’s joining the Combined Military Forces-Bahrain as an associate member. However, there was no such mention in the Indian press release.

The Indian side highlighted the launch of the India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to facilitate outcome-oriented cooperation. “Co-led by the National Security Council Secretariat in India and the US National Security Council, iCET would forge closer linkages between government, academia and industry of the two countries in areas such as A.I., quantum computing, 5G/6G, biotech, space and semiconductors,” said the MEA press note.

During Modi’s meeting with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, the two leaders undertook a comprehensive stocktaking of the entire framework of the bilateral partnership to carry forward cooperation in diverse areas, including defence manufacturing in India and trade and technology.

The Japanese foreign ministry stated that the two leaders welcomed the “increasing momentum of defence cooperation”, especially the implementation of the joint Malabar exercises with the US and Australia. They also reportedly shared views on coordinating the “early implementation of the first joint fighter jet exercise”.

They also agreed to hold the second Japan-India foreign and defence ministers’ meeting at an early date.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met Australia’s newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the Quad Summit.

Albanese was sworn in as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister on Monday. His centre-left Labor Party ousted predecessor Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition at Saturday’s election. The coalition had been in power under three prime ministers for nine years.

(With PTI inputs)

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