The developments in Afghanistan, ways to stem radicalism, extremism and cross-border terrorism and further expansion of India-US global partnership will figure prominently in bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in Washington on September 24, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Tuesday.
In their first in-person talks after Biden became the US President, the two leaders are expected to focus on bolstering bilateral trade and investment ties, strengthening defence and security collaboration and boosting the strategic clean energy partnership, Shringla said sharing details of Modi's "official working visit" to the US from September 22-25.
At a media briefing, the foreign secretary said Modi will leave for the US on Wednesday morning and return to India on September 26. Besides holding bilateral talks with President Biden, Modi will attend a summit of the Quad leaders on September 24 in Washington and address the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York the next day.
The prime minister will also hold talks with US Vice President Kamala Harris as well as with his Australian and Japanese counterparts, Shringla said. "The bilateral meeting (between Modi and Biden) will also feature the current regional security situation following recent developments in Afghanistan, our stakes as a neighbour and a longstanding and a preferred development partner of Afghanistan," Shringla said.
"In this context, we would undoubtedly discuss the need to stem radicalism, extremism, cross-border terrorism and the dismantling of global terrorist networks. "They will also discuss the reform of the multilateral system, including the UN Security Council," he said.
Shringla said Modi and Biden will also discuss how the comprehensive strategic global partnership between India and the US can be enriched further. He said the prime minister will be accompanied by a high-level delegation consisting of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the National Security Adviser and senior officials, including the foreign secretary.
During his visit, Modi will have interactions with a number of business leaders also with an aim to strengthen two-way trade and investment. Referring to the Quad summit, Shringla described the coalition as a partnership among four like-minded countries in pursuit of common interests in striving for a free, open and inclusive Indo-pacific region.
The summit will be attended by Modi, Biden and the prime ministers of Japan and Australia. "The four leaders will share perspective on the regional situation, emerging challenges including in South Asia and Indo-pacific region and how to work together to contain COVID-19," he said.
The foreign secretary said the leaders will take stock of progress made since the virtual summit of Quad in March, especially in the COVID-19 vaccine partnership. "They will identify new areas of cooperation that will reinforce the positive and constructive agenda of the Quad including contemporary areas that will benefit the Indo-Pacific region," Shringla said.
In March, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, anchored by democratic values and unconstrained by coercion, sending an apparent message to China. At the UN General Assembly, the foreign secretary said the prime minister will speak on several important issues including the regional situation, cross-border terrorism, global efforts to combat COVID-19 and climate change.
(Text input from PTI)