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In Bali, did Modi and Biden “examine connections,” or was it really a “short meeting”? White House and MEA disagree

The White House press secretary said that Modi and Biden spoke just "very briefly" after MEA reported that they discussed "bilateral ties" on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

In New Delhi: The White House has released a statement regarding a meeting that took place between US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi outside of the G-20 Summit that differs from the one that was previously released by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

When asked about the significance of the US-Indian relationship in light of the stalled nomination of Biden’s choice for US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded on Monday.

“India is a very important relationship that we have. You… you saw the President greet and meet very briefly with Prime Minister Modi just last week when he was in… in Bali,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.

On November 15 and 16, the G-20 Summit was place in Bali, Indonesia.

Her remarks came a week after the MEA released a thorough statement characterising the meeting between Modi and Biden on the fringes of the G-20 Summit on November 15 as one that “examined” bilateral relations, among other things.

“They reviewed the continuing deepening of the India-US strategic partnership, including cooperation in future-oriented sectors like critical and emerging technologies, advanced computing, artificial intelligence, etc. They expressed satisfaction about the close cooperation between India and US in new groupings such as the Quad, I2U2, etc,” read the statement.

Various global and regional developments were also covered, and it was noted that Modi praised Biden for his “continuous support” in advancing US-India relations.

“[Modi] expressed confidence that both countries would continue to maintain close coordination during India’s G-20 Presidency,” the statement said.

Biden, Modi, and Widodo meeting: White House, MEA
The US President met with the Indian Prime Minister and Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the summit, but the White House did not issue any announcements regarding a meeting involving just Biden and Modi.

The G-20 must “show its collective potential to bring together major economies,” according to the White House, on November 15, in order to drive inclusive and sustainable growth and address the current energy, food, and climate crises, among other issues.

Biden also praised Indonesia’s efforts as the G-20 President, saying that some of the nation’s measures had helped create the groundwork for future health-finance collaborations for India’s G-20 presidency.

“He [Biden] looks forward to continuing to support the G20’s work under India’s Presidency,” the statement added.

The MEA’s statement of the trilateral meeting, however, offered details of what Prime Minister Modi said.

“PM Modi affirmed that India would give voice to other developing countries during its Presidency,” read the MEA statement.

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