President-elect Joe Biden spoke to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi Nov. 17, 2020, thanking him for his good wishes sent over Twitter soon after the former Vice President was declared the winner in the race to the White House.
Biden thanked the prime minister for his congratulations and expressed his desire to strengthen and expand the U.S.-India strategic partnership alongside the first vice president of South Asian descent, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a readout from the transition office said.
The president-elect noted that he looks forward to working closely with India “on shared global challenges, including containing COVID-19 and defending against future health crises, tackling the threat of climate change, launching the global economic recovery, strengthening democracy at home and abroad, and maintaining a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” the readout said.
Modi in his early Twitter message had called the Biden-Harris win a “Spectacular Victory” in the midst of current President Donald Trump’s insistence the election was not decided and that there was voter fraud, all disputed claims.
The Indian Prime Minister also praised the President-elect for his past record of strengthening Indo-US relations calling it “critical and invaluable.”
Doubts persist in some quarters both in India and the U.S., about whether the Biden administration will focus more on alleged persecution of religious minorities in India, and the drum beat from human rights activists and politicos about alleged attacks on press freedom and attempts to force the Hindutva ideology on that country, as well as on trade and economic obstacles that persist, there is optimism that global issues such as climate change and dealing with the pandemic would overtake them.
Modi was particularly enamored of Kamala Harris’ Indian background and her historic win.
“Heartiest congratulations Kamala Harris! Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans,” Modi tweeted, using the Tamil word (chittis) that Harris used in a speech to refer to her aunties.
“I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership,” Modi went on to say in his tweet to Harris.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs in its readout said Modi “warmly congratulated President-elect Biden on his election, describing it as a testament to the strength and resilience of democratic traditions in the United States.”
Modi also extended his “heartiest congratulations and best wishes” to Harris.
During the conversation, Modi “warmly recalled” his earlier interactions with Biden, including during his official visits to the U.S. in 2014 and 2016 when he addressed the U.S. Congress presided over by then Vice President Biden.
The two agreed to work closely to further advance the India-U.S. Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.