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Narendra Modi’s US trip: PM to meet Kamala Harris, speak at UNGA; here’s what's on agenda

·3-min read

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official visit to the US on 23 September, his first since Joe Biden became president, carries a lot of significance. Modi is travelling to Washington to attend the Quad Summit, where he will also participate in bilateral meetings with Biden, Australia's Scott Morrison, and Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga, before meeting them at the Quad block.

Modi also plans to meet US vice-president Kamala Harris, which is particularly important given Harris is the first person of Indian origin to hold such a post in America.

During this three-day visit, Modi will also address the UN General Assembly €" India is a non-permanent member of the UN security council €" where Afghanistan, COVID-19, climate change and terrorism will be on the agenda.

Afghanistan and terrorism: At UNGA, Biden is likely to speak about the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan after Kabul was captured by the Taliban. The threat of terror attacks and India's relation with Afghanistan are likely to emerge as points of discussion among the two leaders. At the Quad block, where Biden, Modi, Morrison and Yoshihide will be present, terrorism and its effects on the Asia Pacific region is likely to be discussed. The Indian envoy to the UN, TS Tirumurti said that terrorism, climate change, equitable and affordable access to vaccines, Indo-Pacific and UN reforms and India's permanent representation to the UN will be discussed.

Climate change: India is the only G-20 country that is on course to meet the Paris Targets. "We are second to none in fighting climate change and we will reinforce this during our meetings and demand more action from the developed countries by way of mitigation targets, climate finance and technology transfer," said Tirumurti. India will participate in three high-level meetings organised by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Climate, Energy and Food Systems. The roundtable "will be a chance for national leaders to demonstrate solidarity and ambition to keep the world's 1.5°C temperature goal within reach," the UN has said.

COVID-19 and vaccination: India will voice its support for vaccine equity and "ensure availability for the developing countries which have not yet been brought into this ambit."

Green card and Immigration: With US Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruling that immigration reforms proposed by the Democrats can't be part of the reconciliation bill, the green card backlog for Indians will continue. Immigration and smooth bilateral relations and trade are likely to come up in the discussion between Biden and Modi. However, it may be pointed out that Harris has the power to overrule the Parliamentarian.

Education, knowledge partnership: India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has told new Indian students joining American universities that educational partnership holds great potential of the bilateral relations between the two countries, a topic which may be discussed in the meeting.

With input from agencies

Also See: Narendra Modi, Scott Morrison review strategic partnership ahead of Quad meet in Washington

Joe Biden to host in-person Quad Summit at White House on 24 September, Narendra Modi to attend

Japan extends coronavirus emergency in Tokyo, 18 other areas till end of September

Read more on India by Firstpost.

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