Modi to meet US Vice President Kamala Harris

PTI  | Deccan Chronicle

Nation, Current Affairs

The Prime minister will have two bilateral meetings with his Australian and Japanese counterparts

Harris had earlier spoken with Modi over the phone during the COVID-19 crisis. (Photo: PTI)

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday is scheduled to have as many as eight meetings, including with Vice President Kamala Harris, on the first working day of his current US trip.

Apart from meeting Harris at the White House, the Prime minister will have two bilateral meetings with his Australian and Japanese counterparts -- Scott Morrison and Yoshihide Suga.

Modi, who arrived in the US capital on Wednesday evening, would kick off his day's engagements with a series of one-on-one meetings with five top American CEOs representing diverse areas from technology, the IT sector to finance, defence and renewable energy.

These CEO's include Shantanu Narayen from Adobe and Vivek Lall from General Atomics, Cristiano E Amon from Qualcomm, Mark Widmar from First Solar and Stephen A Schwarzman from Blackstone.

According to sources, these CEOs represent fairly large corporate interests, companies that have particular expertise, have invested in India and have the potential to invest significantly there.

In the afternoon, Modi is scheduled to have a bilateral with Prime Minister Morrison of Australia. The two leaders have met in the past on a number of occasions on the sidelines of various international conferences.

Morrison had recently called Modi to brief him about planning to go ahead with the AUKUS alliance.

The US, Britain and Australia last week announced the AUKUS alliance for the Indo-Pacific to take on the threats of the 21st century and allow for greater sharing of defence capabilities, including help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines, in a bid to counter China's growing power in the strategically vital region.

Morrison was to visit India in January last year which he had to postpone because of a massive fire in Australia. Another trip to India in May had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 situation.

After meeting with Morrison, Modi would drive down to the White House for a meeting with Indian-origin US Vice President Kamala Harris at her ceremonial office. The maiden meeting between the two leaders has been scheduled for an hour.

The two leaders are likely to talk to the press.

According to sources, they are expected to talk on a range of issues that interest both sides -- from the management of COVID-19 to issues like cooperation in the high tech and space sectors.

Prime Minister Modi is looking forward to his first meeting with Vice President Harris, sources said.

The two leaders have earlier spoken to each other over the phone during the COVID-19 crisis in June.

Later in the day, the prime minister is scheduled to meet prime minister Suga of Japan. The two leaders have been speaking to each other quite frequently.

On Friday, the Prime Minister would spend most of his time at the White House, first a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Biden. This would be followed by the first-ever in-person Quad summit.

In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.

The prime minister will then leave for New York. He is the first speaker scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 25.