Biden, Modi discuss US-India ties in phone conversation

In this Sept.14, 2020, file photo released by India Government Press Information Bureau, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the media as he arrives at the Parliament in New Delhi, India. (India Government Press Information Bureau via AP, File)

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first phone conversation with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, and they agreed to work closely to further advance the Indo-U.S. comprehensive global strategic partnership, India’s External Affairs Ministry said Wednesday.

Modi congratulated Biden during their conversation on Tuesday and they discussed their priorities, including containing the coronavirus pandemic, promoting access to affordable vaccines, tackling climate change and cooperating in the Indo-Pacific Region, the ministry said in a statement.

Modi had earlier tweeted his congratulations to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Nov. 8.

Modi recalled his earlier interactions with Biden, including during his official visits to the United States in 2014 and 2016. Biden had chaired the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress that was addressed by Modi during his 2016 visit to Washington.

Modi is known for his public displays of bonhomie with President Donald Trump, who visited India last February.

Stepping up the Trump administration’s anti-China message in India, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Defense chief Mark Esper visited India a week ahead of America’s Nov. 3 presidential election.

Pompeo and Esper signed an agreement expanding military satellite information sharing and highlighted strategic cooperation between Washington and New Delhi.