The first bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden is expected to take place at the end of this month in Washington. PM Modi’s visit is considered to be crucial in view of the rapidly changing situation in Asia after the Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan. It will be his first physical visit since the Biden-led administration came to power. According to reports, apart from Afghanistan, issues regarding terrorism, China’s expansion attempts in the South China sea, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and others are also slated to be discussed.
PM Modi’s last foreign trip took place in March this year amid the second wave of the pandemic, when he arrived in Bangladesh for his two-day visit.
PM Modi’s Visit To the US
According to the Hindu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend the first physical Quad summit since the pandemic began, in Washington. The official dates of PM Modi’s visit are yet to be announced, but it is expected that he will be in the US for three days between September 23 to 25.
Washington will be hosting the Quad summit on September 23 and 24. PM Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be attending it along with their respective delegations. The last ministerial-level Quad meeting was held virtually in February 2021 in the wake of the pandemic. However, the progress of the in-person Quad summit will depend on Japanese PM Suga’s participation, who has already announced his resignation. It is possible that PM Suga may quit his position by the end of September.
Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has already landed in the US, and is holding meetings with the Biden administration. “Substantive discussions on advancing the India-US Strategic Partnership across sectors including healthcare, defense & security, trade & investment, S&T [science and technology], climate change, clean energy and people to people ties (were held),” tweeted the Ministry of External Affairs after Shringla met his counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in Washington.
PM Modi is also scheduled to attend the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York on September 25. According to reports, 29 ministers and diplomats, including PM Modi, are scheduled to address the UNGA debate.
Top Agendas Of The Modi-Biden Meet
PM Modi and US President Joe Biden are likely to hold a bilateral meeting at the White House. According to reports, China’s expansion in Kabul and the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan will be the top agenda during this discussion.
Both the leaders are expected to discuss a range of issues, including the COVID-19 situation along with climate change, terrorism, and discussion on the strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and the US.
The armed insurgent group, the Taliban, seized power from former president Ashraf Ghani following the withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces.
On Tuesday, the Taliban declared Afghanistan an “Islamic Emirate” by giving the country’s charge to Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, who is on the UN’s blacklist. Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the Haqqani network and is on the FBI’s most-wanted list, has also been appointed as the Home Minister of Afghanistan.
China’s Influence In Afghanistan
Both the leaders may also discuss China’s influence in Afghanistan. Beijing is looking at the recent developments in Kabul as a win-win situation. Experts believe that China will expand its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project through the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor. The construction of a road from Pakistan’s Peshawar to Kabul under Xi Jinping’s BRI project can be expected in the coming years. Recently, the US’ former envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley warned that Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase, which was under the US military over the past two decades, could be taken over by China and used against India.
In the wake of the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan it is expected that PM Modi will emphasise on the issue of counterterrorism during the meeting with Joe Biden. The deadliest terrorist groups like the Al-Qaeda and the ISIS have been motivated since Kabul’s fall to the Taliban. Many reports suggest that these groups have already joined the Taliban in Afghanistan, which only bodes instability and chaos for Asia, especially India.