voice for democracy

Harris talks about protecting democracy in first meeting with Modi, raises suo moto terrorism from Pakistan – Deccan Herald

The United States once again subtly nudged India to protect democratic principles as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first in-person meeting with American Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington DC early on Friday.
They also discussed the threats posed by terrorist groups based in Pakistan to India and the United States.
This was Modi’s first meeting with Harris after she scripted history becoming the first Indian-American to take over as the Vice President of the United States. He will have a meeting with President Joe Biden later. He will also attend the first in-person summit of the Quad, a coalition forged by India, Australia, Japan and the US to counter China’s hegemonic aspirations in the Indo-Pacific region.
“I know from personal experience and from my family of the commitment of the Indian people to democracy and the work that needs to be done (so that) we can begin to imagine, and then actually achieve, our vision for democratic principles and institutions,” Harris said as she and Modi addressed media-persons just before the meeting.
Also read: PM Modi, Japanese Premier Suga reaffirm commitment for free, open Indo-Pacific ahead of Quad meeting
Modi told Harris that India and the US, being the oldest and largest democracies in the world, were natural partners.
President Joe Biden’s administration has been over the past few months tacitly conveying concerns in the US about the perception that India was backsliding on human rights and freedom of speech and religion.
“As democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world and that we do what we must do to strengthen democracies at home,” the US Vice President said. “It is incumbent on our nations to of course protect democracies in the best interests of people of our countries”.
During her meeting with Modi, Harris made suo moto reference on issue of terrorism coming out of Pakistan and affecting the security of India and the US, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla later told journalists. The Prime Minister briefed the US Vice President about cross-border terrorism, which has been coming out of Pakistan and targeting India for decades.
Shringla said that Harris stressed Pakistan taking actions against the terrorist organisations posing threat to the security of the US and India.
“She agreed with the Prime Minister’s briefing on cross border terrorism and the fact that India has been a victim of terrorism for several decades now and on the need to rein in, and closely monitor Pakistan”s support for such terrorist groups,” the Foreign Secretary said.
Modi and Harris exchanged views on recent global developments, including in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
The two leaders discussed the Covid-19 situation in their respective countries, including ongoing efforts to contain the pandemic through expedited vaccination efforts and ensuring supply of critical medicines, therapeutics and healthcare equipment, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
The two sides acknowledged the importance of collaborative action on climate change. PM Modi told the US Vice President about his government’s push for increasing capacity to generate renewable energy and the recently launched National Hydrogen Mission in India.
Modi and Harris also discussed areas of future collaboration, including in the space sector, Information Technology, especially emerging and critical technologies, as well as the cooperation in the healthcare sector. “They acknowledged the vibrant people-to-people linkages as the bedrock of the mutually beneficial education linkages and the flow of knowledge, innovation and talent between our two countries,” the MEA stated.
Noting that Harris’s ascent to the second-highest office in the federal government of the US was historic, Modi extended an invitation to her and her husband Douglas Emhoff for an early visit to India, so that people of the country could celebrate her achievement.
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