India seen as essential to address some of the most difficult global challenges
President Joe Biden with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his US visit in 2021. Pic/AP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is, on many counts, a curious choice for President Joe Biden to honor with a state visit. Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine 16 months ago, India has boosted its economy by purchasing increasing quantities of cheap Russian oil.
Human rights groups and political opponents have accused Modi of stifling dissent and introducing divisive policies that discriminate against Muslims and other minorities. And India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has espoused a worldview in which there are no allies or friends, only “frenemies”.
But Biden, who will welcome Modi to the White House on Thursday for a state visit, has made clear he sees US ties to India—the world’s biggest democracy and one of its fastest growing economies—as a defining relationship. New Delhi, as Biden sees it, will be essential to addressing some of the most difficult global challenges in coming years, including climate change, disruptions related to artificial intelligence, and China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific.
Modi to bend leaders into shape on Int’l Yoga Day
India’s prime minister has a reputation of casting himself as an ascetic. So when Narendra Modi leads foreign dignitaries and bureaucrats in a session for International Yoga Day on Wednesday at the UN Secretariat in New York. Nine years ago, he successfully lobbied the UN to designate June 21 as International Yoga Day. Since then, Modi has harnessed yoga as a cultural soft power to stretch his nation’s diplomatic reach it’s rising place in the world. He has promoted yoga so much that even foreign diplomats have been seen stretching themselves in gardens and their embassy offices.
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