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PM Modi, US President Biden resolve to deepen defence ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Joe Biden in New Delhi on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. (Photo: PTI)

NEW DELHI (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden have vowed to "deepen and diversify" the bilateral major defence partnership while welcoming forward movement in India's procurement of 31 drones and joint development of jet engines.

In their over 50-minute talks held on Sept 8 (Friday) on the eve of G20 summit, the two leaders deliberated on India's G20 presidency, cooperation in nuclear energy, critical and emerging technologies such as 6G and artificial intelligence, and ways to fundamentally reshape multilateral development banks.

The US President was visiting India primarily to attend the two-day G20 summit held on Sept. 9 and 10. He arrived in Delhi around 7 PM on Sept. 8, and was greeted with songs and a musical show at the airport.

The joint statement said the US President welcomed issuance of a Letter of Request from India's defence ministry to procure 31 MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft from American defence giant General Atomics.

It said the two leaders also welcomed completion of the Congressional notification process and the commencement of negotiations for a commercial agreement between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) to manufacture GE F-414 jet engines in India.

It said the two leaders "recommitted" to work collaboratively and expeditiously to support the advancement of this unprecedented co-production and technology transfer proposal.

In the talks, Biden lauded India's G20 Presidency for further demonstrating how G20 as a forum is delivering important outcomes.

The joint statement said Modi and Biden reaffirmed commitment to G20 and expressed confidence that the outcomes of the summit will advance shared goals.

The two leaders also reaffirmed the importance of QUAD in supporting a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific.

PM Modi looked forward to welcoming Biden to the next QUAD leaders' summit to be hosted by India in 2024, it said.

The two leaders also called on their governments to continue work on transforming the India-US strategic partnership across all dimensions and reiterated their support for building resilient global semiconductor supply chains.

"The leaders re-emphasised that the shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights, inclusion, pluralism, and equal opportunities for all citizens are critical to the success our countries enjoy and that these values strengthen our relationship," it said.

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