Indian prime minister Modi meets first Indian American VP Harris

·2 min read
Modi and Harris joint presser
Modi and Harris joint presser

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US Vice-President Kamala Harris in Washington on Thursday, marking the first in-person meeting of Mr Modi and the highest-ranking Indian American in US history.

Ms Harris is the first woman and first black and South Asian vice-president.

Mr Modi congratulated Ms Harris on her historic position and invited her to return the visit.

"The people of India are waiting to welcome you," he said.

In November, residents of Ms Harris' ancestral village, Thulasendrapuram, in India's south, lit fireworks and marched in the street following news of her win.

Mr Modi's three-day trip ends on Friday, capped by his first meeting with President Joe Biden.

Speaking in the Oval Office, Mr Biden extended a warm welcome to Mr Modi and paid tribute to the four million Indian Americans who he said "make us stronger".

Mr Modi returned the well wishes, saying the bilateral meeting was sowing the seeds "for an even stronger friendship between India and the US".

The meeting comes as the Taliban establishes its new governing structure in Afghanistan, weeks after seizing power of the country. Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the group told the BBC that it intends to "raise its voice for Muslims" in Indian-administered Kashmir.

India and Pakistan control different parts of the Muslim-majority territory, but both claim it as wholly theirs.

During the 2019 campaign, Ms Harris condemned Mr Modi's actions in Kashmir revoking part of the region's autonomy - one of the few candidates to do so.

Mr Modi also attended the so-called "Quad" summit with Mr Biden and leaders of Australia and Japan on Friday - part of a White House effort to boost co-operation in the Asia-Pacific region.

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