Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama would discuss a range of issues, including ways to accelerate economic growth and bolster security cooperation to deepen the US-India strategic partnership, at their maiden summit meeting on Tuesday.
“The two leaders will discuss ways to accelerate economic growth, bolster security cooperation, and collaborate in activities that bring long-term benefits to both countries and the world,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
Modi and Obama will also focus on regional issues, including current developments in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, where India and the US can work together with partners toward a positive outcome, he added.
“The President looks forward to working with the Prime Minister to fulfill the promise of the US-India strategic partnership for the benefit of both our citizens and the world,” Earnest said, adding that Vice President Joe Biden will also participate in the meeting. Later in the afternoon, Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry would host Modi and the visiting Indian delegation for an official lunch at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the White House. Human rights issues may also come up for discussion in the meeting between both the leaders.
“The issue of basic universal human rights is something that is frequently discussed in the President’s meetings with world leaders around the globe. “So I don’t have anything specific to say about this particular meeting, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this issue that we considered to be a priority in our relations with countries all around the world is raised in the context of the meetings over the next couple of days,” said Earnest. He was responding to questions about the various human rights bodies urging the US President to raise the issues of freedom of religion and human rights in his meeting with Modi.
Earnest said that the robust nature of the relationship between the US and India can’t be reduced to one specific issue. “There are so many ways in which the US government interacts with the India government in pursuit of our mutual interests that it’s hard to identify just one. “Whether it’s security cooperation or economic cooperation, even agreements related to reducing the causes of climate change, that we’re confident that we can advance the ball down the field by working closely with our counterparts in India,” he said. “We have the kind of strategic partnership that is focused on a wide variety of areas. Whether it’s security and counterterrorism, or strengthening the economy, or a host of other regional issues, that there is a broad framework where India and the US work closely together to advance our shared interests. “That underscores the significance of the relationship between the United States and India, which is the world’s largest democracy,” the White House Press Secretary said.