All eyes on the Modi-Biden virtual talk and 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

New Delhi: Amid high-intensity tension over India’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine war, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set for a crucial one-on-one virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden on Monday, April 11.

“Biden will continue the close consultations on the consequences of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and mitigating its destabilizing impact on global food supply and commodity markets. Biden last spoke to Prime Minister Modi with other Quad Leaders in March,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a statement.

In India, the MEA said the two leaders would review the ongoing bilateral cooperation and exchange views on recent developments in South Asia, the Indo-Pacific region, and global issues of mutual interest.

“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,” the MEA statement said.

The Leaders’ virtual interaction will precede the crucial India-US 2 plus 2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar will lead the Dialogue from the Indian side and their US counterparts, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will lead from the US side.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Dialogue would enable both sides to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India – US bilateral agenda related to foreign policy, defence and security.

The Dialogue Mechanism will also provide the opportunity to exchange views about important regional and global developments and how both countries can work together to address common interests and concerns, he said.

As part of an ongoing and regular dialogue, Dr Jaishankar will separately meet his US counterpart Secretary Blinken, Bagchi said.

Jaishankar and Blinken held a telephonic conversation last week focusing on the latest developments in Ukraine and bilateral ties.

The White House statement further said President Biden and Prime Minister Modi would discuss cooperation on a range of issues, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, countering the climate crisis, strengthening the global economy, and upholding a free, open, rules-based international order to bolster security and democracy.

The ‘prosperity’ in the Indo-Pacific will be on the table during the talks.

The Leaders will advance ongoing conversations about developing an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and delivering high-quality infrastructure.

Among the Quad partners, the US, Australia and Japan, India is the only country that has not openly condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

India has been abstaining from voting at the UNGA and UNSC, and New Delhi stayed away from voting even when UNGA expelled Russia from UNHRC.

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