India says 'substantive outcomes' from Biden, Modi talks

Published May 24, 2022
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) holds a meeting with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of Quad summit in Tokyo on Tuesday. — Photo courtesy Arindam Bagchi's Twitter
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) holds a meeting with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of Quad summit in Tokyo on Tuesday. — Photo courtesy Arindam Bagchi's Twitter

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden reached “substantive outcomes” on Tuesday in talks to strengthen their trade and defence ties, India said, though Modi refrained from condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The leaders are in Tokyo for a meeting of the Quad group of countries — the US, India, Japan and Australia.

Of the four, only India has not condemned Russia's invasion despite pressure from the US for it to do so.

Read: No sanctions, but US wants Delhi to break from Russia

“Discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in trade, investment, technology, defence, P2P ties between the two countries,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said on Twitter, referring to people-to-people ties.

“Concluded with substantive outcomes adding depth and momentum to the bilateral partnership.”

The White House said in a statement that Biden, in the meeting with Modi, had condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine but there was no mention of Modi doing so. Modi had agreed on humanitarian help for Ukraine, it said.

“The leaders committed to continue providing humanitarian assistance, and discussed how to cooperate to manage disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine, in particular the rise in energy and food prices, to protect their respective citizens and the world,” the White House said.

Russia has been India's biggest arms supplier for decades and India is wary of seeing Russia pushed even closer to China, with which India has serious border disagreements.

Read: India unsure of Russian arms amid US sanctions

India has called for an end to the violence in Ukraine.

The US has in recent months offered to sell more defence equipment and oil to India to pry it away from Russia. India has also joined a US-led trade partnership, that Biden launched this week, called the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity.

The White House said India would be joining the US-backed Combined Military Forces-Bahrain as an associate member. The maritime partnership has 34 members from around the world but does not include China.

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