HomeAsiaBiden will receive the Prime Minister of India at a state dinner

Biden will receive the Prime Minister of India at a state dinner

President Biden will welcome India’s prime minister to the White House for a state visit and lavish dinner next month, offering an invaluable diplomatic boon for a critical economic ally, but also for a leader who has shown trends. authoritarian.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Biden on June 22, according to a White House statement on Wednesday. It will be the president’s third state dinner, after hosting the leaders of france and South Korea. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, said the visit would celebrate “the warm ties of family and friendship that unite Americans and Indians.”

For Biden, the visit is an opportunity to bring India even closer in economic and security cooperation, especially when it comes to countering China’s growing influence in the global marketplace.

Rick Rossow, senior adviser and India chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the United States is interested in continuing to work with India, which is one of the United States’ largest trading partners and is an ally on security in the region.

“The silver lining, commercially, security-wise, is strong enough where I think you will see a high level of commitment,” he said. “If you look at the numbers, you look at bilateral trade and investment, the numbers are actually quite strong.”

But the visit will also test one of Biden’s favorite observations: that the world is at a tipping point where countries must choose between autocracy and democracy.

Mr Modi, the leader of the world’s most populous democracy, has been constantly pushing his country towards what is effectively one-party rule, consolidating political power by sidelining its rivals and subjecting the judicial system to its will.

In March, independent observers criticized the jailing of Rahul Gandhi, India’s best-known opposition leader and the prime minister’s main rival, on libel charges stemming from political criticism of Modi. The ruling led to Gandhi’s expulsion from the Indian Parliament, a move that helped solidify Modi’s position as head of his government.

It’s the kind of development Biden has been warning about, both within the United States during President Donald J. Trump’s tenure and abroad.

“There is a competition between autocracies and democracies, and we have to succeed,” Biden said last summer during remarks in Madrid. He used the same phrase again at the United Nations in New York, during his State of the Union address this year and just two weeks ago during his meeting with the South Korean president at the White House.

Modi, who is wildly popular in India, has deployed some of the same political approaches as Biden’s predecessor.

Publicly, the Indian leader embraced Trump as something of a kindred spirit. Both came to power by embracing right-wing populism and arguing that they were champions of people fighting against a corrupt establishment. Both vowed to make their countries “great again.” And both exploited religious, economic, and cultural divides.

During a 2019 political tour of the United States he called “Hello Modi!” the prime minister spoke enthusiastically of Trump in front of 50,000 Americans in a Houston stadium.

“He has always been the same: warm, friendly, approachable, energetic and full of wit,” Modi said of Trump. “I admire him for something more: his sense of leadership, passion for America, concern for every American, belief in the American future and a steadfast determination to make America great again.”

Rossow said that excluding Gandhi from Parliament “probably registered a bit more” among people concerned about Modi’s actions. But he said Modi had also pushed inside India to shift power from the central government to the states, even though many of the local governments are not controlled by his political party.

As a result, he said, Biden is likely to focus on the broader issues common to both nations when Modi arrives in Washington. The two men will also see each other this month during Biden’s visit to Australia for a summit.

The United States increasingly hopes that India can help be a bulwark against China’s growing economic influence. Last year, Janet L. Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury, visited india in an effort to cement ties as the United States seeks to wrest supply chains from the clutches of its political and economic adversaries.

The Biden administration is trying to encourage chipmakers and others to move their facilities to places like India, rather than remain dependent on China. That desire intensified after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which helped disrupt the global network of suppliers, especially for high-tech goods.

“If they really start to play games with the way elections are conducted, if they take a dramatic step to worsen the livelihoods of Muslims in the country, then I think there could be a tougher look,” Rossow said of Modi and his government. In India. “But right now, I think the little things that we read about, we can fix.”

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