Salem Radio Network News Sunday, September 24, 2023


As Biden, Modi meet before G20, US press sidelined

By Nandita Bose

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden headed into a closed-door meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, shortly after arriving in New Delhi for a G20 summit over the weekend.

As Biden and Modi met at the Prime Minister’s residence, the U.S. press corps was sequestered in a van, out of eyesight of the two leaders – an unusual situation for the reporters and photographers who follow the U.S. President at home and around the world to witness and record his public appearances.

Biden and Modi last met in person in June when the Indian leader was the guest of a White House state visit. The two men are expected to discuss progress on a number of agreements reached in June, including a deal to allow General Electric to produce jet engines in India to power Indian military aircraft.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen joined the meeting, as did White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, the White House said in a statement. Indian attendees included external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and security adviser Ajit Doval.

Reporters didn’t see Biden or Yellen arrive, and were parked in a van outside Modi’s residence, a complex in central New Delhi, for about 10 minutes before being asked to leave.

Sullivan told reporters ahead of the meeting that the talks would show “the breadth of the relationship between our countries.”

Questions about press access on the India trip have been persistent, after the official White House schedule did not show that the usual pool of reporters would be allowed in for the start of the Modi-Biden meeting.

“Look, guys, we are doing everything that we can to make sure that there is access,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on the Air Force One flight to India.

Though the countries are not formal treaty-bound allies and India has long relished its independence, Washington wants Delhi to be a strategic counterweight to China.

Armed with cash for the World Bank and promises of sustained U.S. engagement, Biden hopes to persuade fast-growing economies in Africa, Latin America and Asia that there is an alternative to China’s Belt and Road project, which has funneled billions of dollars to developing countries but left many deeply in debt.

After the G20, Biden is to visit Vietnam before returning to the United States later on Monday.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Steve Holland; Editing by Nick Macfie, Heather Timmons and Grant McCool)


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