New Delhi, September 7
US President Joe Biden is all set to visit India following a brief scare created by First Lady Jill Biden (72) testing positive for Covid even as the fourth and final meeting of G20 Sherpas wound up in Haryana’s Nuh after finalising the broad contours of various initiatives under India’s G20 presidency.
Leaders of other countries have started trickling in with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu the first to arrive. All eyes here will be on the Joe Biden-Narendra Modi bilateral that will take place on Friday, shortly after the US President arrives in Delhi at 7 pm.
All eyes on bilateral
Ahead of the summit, focus will be on Biden–Modi bilateral that will take place on Friday shortly after the US President lands in Delhi at 7 pm
Once the G20 summit opens officially on September 9, of interest will be whether Russian and Chinese objections on Ukraine will stall the release of a Delhi Declaration at the end of the summit on Sunday.
Technology cooperation between the US and India in over two dozen areas and defence research and coproduction will form the nucleus of the talks between PM Modi and Biden, said sources. The US side will also touch prominently on the Ukraine issue and Biden is being joined by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who “will continue to rally America’s partners to maintain collective economic support for Ukraine”.
A snapshot of the progress made after the Biden-Modi meeting approved the ‘Roadmap for US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation’ in Washington in June was the first virtual meeting of the India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) in order to “drive innovation and equip both countries’ armed forces with the capabilities they need to defend a free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to a US statement today. The challenges provide for start-ups in both countries to develop technological solutions for shared defence challenges, culminating in financial awards for the most promising technology along with potential procurement opportunities. DIU and iDEX will open the challenges to start-ups later this month.
A White House spokesperson said Biden is “very excited” about the important initiatives he will be championing at the G20 summit in New Delhi. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Jakarta earlier this week and sources said it is reasonable to expect that discussions would also have touched on Russian block of a joint declaration due to references to Ukraine. Lavrov is unlikely to attend the full summit and is likely to leave early, as was the case at the last G20 summit in Bali.
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