U.S. President Joe Biden aims to herald the start of a stronger U.S.-Indian relationship on Thursday by announcing a series of defense and trade agreements with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Washington attempts to counter China’s global influence.
The two leaders held a private, intimate dinner at the White House on Wednesday night.
Biden is rolling out the red carpet for Modi, treating him to a colorful White House South Lawn arrival ceremony on Thursday morning, followed by Oval Office talks and a glittering state dinner in the evening.
In a rare gesture, Modi has agreed to take questions from reporters with Biden at the White House on Thursday. He has not conducted a news conference since becoming prime minister nine years ago.
Washington wants India to be a strategic counterweight to China and sees India as a critical partnership. Modi is seeking to raise the influence that India, the world’s most populous country at 1.4 billion, has on the world stage in the wake of strained ties with neighboring China.
Senior Biden administration officials said the sweeping agreements to be announced on semiconductors, critical minerals, technology, space cooperation, defense cooperation, and sales will ring in a new era in relations between the two countries.
Some of the deals are aimed at diversifying supply chains to reduce dependence on China. The United States has also sought to address China’s rising influence in the Indo-Pacific region by bolstering defense ties with countries like India and Australia.
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