New York–US Vice President Kamala Harris met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bilateral discussions. Please find below the full transcript of Harris’ remarks before the meeting:
“Mr Prime Minister, it is my honour to welcome you to the White House and to Washington D.C. It is my understanding that this is your first trip outside of South Asia for at least the last 16 months. On behalf of the President (Joe Biden) and myself, we are honoured to welcome you for this visit.
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.
Mr Prime Minister, when you and I last spoke in June, we talked about how our world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. And the challenges that we face today have highlighted that fact — be it Covid-19, the climate crisis, and the importance of our shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
On Covid-19, our nations have worked together. Early in the pandemic, India was a vital source of vaccines for other countries. When India experienced a surge of Covid in the country, the United States was very proud to support India in its need and responsibility to vaccinate its people.
And I welcome India’s announcement that it will soon be able to resume vaccine exports. It is of particular note and admiration that India, I’m told, is currently vaccinating approximately 10 million people a day, as of today.
On the issue of the climate crisis, I know that India and you take this issue quite seriously. The President and I believe very strongly that the United States working together with India can have not only a profound impact on the people of our respective nations, but on the world itself.
And as it relates to the Indo-Pacific, the United States, like India, feels very strongly about the pride of being a member of the Indo-Pacific, but also the fragility and the importance and strength as well of those relationships, including maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Finally, as democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world and that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home. And it is incumbent on our nations to, of course, protect democracies in the best interest of the people of our countries.
And, Mr Prime Minister, I look forward to discussing how our nations can continue to best work together to strengthen our relationship around our mutual concerns, around the challenges we face, but also the opportunities that those challenges also present.
I know from personal experience and from my family of the commitment of the Indian people to democracy and to freedom and to the work that may be done and can be done to imagine and then actually achieve our vision for democratic principles and institutions.”