Modi-Biden bonhomie boosts India-US strategic proximity | India News

NEW DELHI: Ties between nations are shaped by mutual interests, common aims and worries but the understanding that emerges out of policy convergence can turn stronger through rapport among leaders. A prime example is the personal equations between PM Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden. At a time when concerns about China have brought the two nations closer, the strategic proximity is being facilitated by the bonhomie between the two leaders.
Biden will host Modi for a state dinner, a courtesy afforded to very few, while there will also be a bilateral meeting.

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However, Biden and his family are going out of the way and extending a touch of personal warmth to be with the PM for multiple events.
In a reflection of their warm personal ties, the President and First Lady Jill Biden will host Modi for a private meal a day before the state dinner. The First Lady will accompany Modi to a skilling event while the President and the PM will be together for a technology event.To many, this did not seem likely. When Modi went around with Donald Trump at the public reception for the then US president at Narendra Modi Stadium, many concluded that this would hurt ties under a Biden-led Democratic administration.
Also, Democrats were expected to be more sensitive to the “intolerance” charge that is levelled against the BJP government. To the contrary, Biden has only stepped up the warmth towards Modi.

Over the past decade, the two leaders have come close, with mutual trust and admiration strengthening their bond. This has been visible through various gestures on multiple important occasions.
In 2014, during Modi’s visit to the US, Biden, then the vice president, hosted a special lunch for him. The two also met in 2016 when the PM addressed the joint meeting of the US Congress. In September 2021, they met during the PM’s visit to the US followed by discussions in Japan for the Quad summit and the G7 summit in Germany in 2022. They met again in Japan in May for G7 and Quad meets.

During their meeting in May, Biden was quoted as telling Modi about the PM’s US visit, “You are causing me a real problem. Next month, we will have a dinner for you in Washington. Everyone in the whole country wants to come. I have run out of tickets. Do you think I am kidding? Ask my team. I am getting phone calls from people I have never heard of before. Everyone from movie actors to relatives. You are too popular.”
In the same meeting, praising Modi, Biden had said, “You also made a fundamental shift in climate. You have influence in Indo-Pacific. You are making a difference”. During the G7 summit, Biden had walked up to Modi to give him a hug.

In fact, US Vice President Kamla Harris is equally comfortable with Modi. While many would be inclined to attribute this to protocol propriety, highly placed sources said Harris’s last interaction with Modi was marked by a warmth that went far beyond the requirements of protocol and procedure.

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