During their meeting at the Oval Office last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden dedicated a significant amount of time to discussing China and its leader Xi Jinping, as confirmed by a senior administration official familiar with the discussion.
According to the anonymous senior administration official, the majority of the time spent in the Oval Office meeting between PM Modi and President Biden was focused on conversations about China.
They discussed their personal experiences with Xi Jinping, having known him for a long time and making efforts to establish a relationship with him, but ultimately feeling unsuccessful in their endeavors, report by a news wire agency said.
"In reality... it (China) is not the glue of our relationship at all, but it's one of the factors and I think we're gonna have that glue for a long time to come," said an official familiar with the discussions between the two leaders last month.
PM Modi and President Biden held meetings for three consecutive days from 21 to 23 June during the Indian prime minister's visit to the US.
During the visit, President Biden warmly welcomed PM Modi at the White House in the morning of 22 June, followed by a State Dinner in the evening.
The two leaders spent over eight hours together during this day.
Both India and the United States share the belief that China poses a significant national security threat.
The Biden administration recognizes India's proactive approach in dealing with Beijing and considers it ahead of Washington in this regard.
A few weeks ago, Uzra Zeya, the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, had a meeting with the Dalai Lama in New Delhi. This meeting caused a strong reaction from the Chinese government.
According to the official, Indians have shown a proactive approach in countering the China threat. They have taken steps such as banning TikTok and building mobile networks without Chinese equipment, setting an example for de-risking. This makes them critical in the current situation.
He also mentioned that while Indians still rely on Chinese products, they view China as an irritant in the G-20 discussions. Russia is also seen as a challenge. India is working towards bringing all stakeholders together and maintaining a balance.
The official highlighted that the relationship between India and the United States is currently at its strongest point ever. Following Prime Minister Modi's visit, the connection between the two countries has deepened to an unprecedented level in the memory of the president.
In India, there is a high level of popularity for both Prime Minister Modi and America. The official noted that there is a significant reservoir of goodwill towards Americans in India, and a strong desire to strengthen the bond between the two nations even further.
According to him, the reflection of progress is not only seen at the top level but also at the government-to-government, business-to-business, and people-to-people levels.
He compared the bridge between India and America, stating that while the bridge from India to America is strong and stable, the bridge from America to India has been like a rope bridge with missing planks. However, the official believes that this is beginning to change due to the increasing number of high-level visits to India.
He noted that there is a frequent presence of major US government representatives in India, with CEOs also visiting regularly. The official mentions that while some have better strategies than others, there is a rush towards India from various businesses.
He further highlights the rapid progress of India, comparing it to China's growth 15 years ago. India is lifting people out of poverty and into the middle class at a faster pace than China did.
The official points out various metrics, such as India surpassing China as the number one source of student visas and the record level of investment, which has made the US the number one trading partner for India for the first time.
"This is the most significant country in many ways for them and becoming one of the most. The president said one of the most consequential relationships we have. Privately he's expressed... that this is the most important relationship that we have, at least in terms of growth and, and the future," said the official.
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