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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Modi-Biden to meet today: What to expect?

Washington, D.C., June 22: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s highly anticipated state visit to the United States will culminate in a pivotal meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday.

With a wide range of pressing issues on the agenda, both leaders are expected to leverage this opportunity to bolster defense ties, foster technological collaboration, and address critical global challenges.

During their private dinner engagement, Prime Minister Modi and President Biden will delve into various areas of cooperation, including defense, technology, climate change, and the Indo-Pacific region.

In particular, discussions will revolve around the recently launched Indian-American Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), which aims to expand collaboration in defense industrial cooperation, space exploration, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology.

Notably, the potential announcement of a jet engine manufacturing facility in India stands as a significant highlight of the meeting. This development aligns with India’s aspirations to produce jet engines domestically, thus enhancing its self-reliance in powering its fighter aircraft.

General Electric’s involvement in a multi-million-dollar deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to jointly produce engines, including the GE-F414 engine for the Tejas-Mk2 and the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF), is expected to mitigate delays in India’s indigenous fighter jet program.

Building on this momentum, both nations are also poised to finalize the procurement of 31 armed MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones from General Atomics, further strengthening their defense capabilities. Despite initial concerns about the price tag, the deal recently secured approval from India’s Ministry of Defense, reflecting the shared commitment to addressing common challenges.

Another point of discussion would be India-US Semiconductor partnership. Announcement of U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology’s $2.7 billion plan to establish a new semiconductor testing and packaging unit in India, likely to be.

Beyond defense cooperation, and technology sharing, the Modi-Biden meeting will prioritize discussions on countering Chinese expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region, an issue of mutual concern. With shared apprehensions about China’s increasing aggression, both countries seek to intensify their strategic partnership by accelerating cooperation and coordination in the Indo-Pacific.

However, the Modi-Biden meet may also involve nuanced discussions on certain points of disagreement. These include India’s stance on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, its efforts to reduce dependence on Russian defense and energy resources, and its refusal to transform the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) into a formal military alliance.

Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States holds immense significance in strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two nations. As both leaders converge to chart a path forward, the outcomes of this meeting are poised to shape not only India-US ties but also global dynamics in defense, technology, and strategic cooperation.

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