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When Modi meets Harris: A leg-up for Indian diaspora
Kamala Harris is America's first female Vice-President, as also the first woman of colour to hold the office. And she is of Indian origin. Pride is filling the Indian diaspora! But Modi called her an "inspiration" for the entire world. “Your election as Vice-President of the US is a historic event. You are a source of inspiration for the world. I am confident that under President Biden and your leadership our bilateral relations will touch new heights,” a persuasive Modi told Harris, and invited her to visit India "from the bottom of my heart". Is she coming?

NEW DELHI, Sept 24: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on a three-day visit to the US, met with Indian-origin Vice-President Kamala Harris in the White House on Thursday. At the delegation-level talks, they exchanged views on issues like the situation in Afghanistan, coronavirus pandemic, climate change, Indo-Pacific, democracy, human rights, security and other bilateral issues, according to sources in her administration.

Apart from the delegation-level meeting, Harris also met Modi at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building portico.

Kamala Harris is America's first female Vice-President, as also the first woman of colour to hold the office. And she is of Indian origin.

At a joint press briefing, speaking in Hindi, Modi said that the US and India are natural partners that share similar values and geopolitical interests. Cooperation between the two countries have continued to increase.

“Your election as Vice-President of the USA has been an important and historic event. You are a source of inspiration for many across the world. I am confident that under President Biden and your leadership our bilateral relations will touch new heights,” Modi told Harris. Modi invited Harris to visit India.

Harris said, “India, of course, is a very important partner to the United States. Throughout our history, our nations have worked together, have stood together, to make our world a safer and stronger world.”

“The words that you chose when you spoke to me, I will always remember that, and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Like a true friend, you had given a message of cooperation and full of sensitivity and immediately we found that the US Government, corporate sector and the Indian community all came together to help India," he said, referring to the call during the peak of the covid pandemic.

Modi tweeted after the meeting that he was glad to have met Harris. "Her feat has inspired the entire world. We talked about multiple subjects that will further cement the India-USA friendship, which is based on shared values and cultural linkages," he said.

“It (Harris meeting Modi) does represent a ‘coming of age’ moment for the diaspora, which is now more than 4 million strong,” Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Los Angeles Times. Pride is conspicuously ballooning among the diaspora, as also in India. However, as Modi said, her feat inspires the whole world, has a universal appeal, and is not just partisan. Indian-Americans are becoming a powerful political force in the US. Modi is likely to bring up issues related to immigration faced by the diaspora at his talks with President Biden.

During their talks, Harris 'suo moto' referred to Pakistan's role in terrorism and said the US had asked the country to stop supporting terror groups, according to Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla. "When the issue of terrorism came up, the Vice- President suo moto referred to Pakistan's role in that regard," Shringla said.

This is the first meeting between Modi and Harris. She had earlier once spoken over phone with Modi during the severe covid second wave in India.

Modi was scheduled to meet President Joe Biden on Friday and review the Indo-US comprehensive global strategic partnership. He would also attend the first in-person Quad leaders’ summit hosted by Biden, alongside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

The Prime Minister arrived in Washington on Wednesday on a three-day visit at the invitation of United States President Joe Biden. He was given a warm welcome by the Indian-Americans at the airport. On Thursday he held one-to-one talks with top American CEOs with a view to expanding their involvement and cooperation in various sectors in India. Modi also had a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga before a meeting with Harris. On Friday, after the meeting with Biden at the White House, and an in-person Quad summit of India, US, Japan and Australia, the Indian Prime Minister will head for New York to address the UN General Assembly. The Quad summit on Friday will be hosted by Biden. In talks with Biden Modi will review the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership and exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

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