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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi could travel to the US later this month in his first visit out of the country in about six months and the first to the US since President Joe Biden took office earlier this year.

The dates for the visit have not been officially confirmed but Modi is expected to travel between 21-27 September, according to two people familiar with the matter. Modi is expected to visit Washington and New York during the trip.

An in person meeting of Quad leaders – ie the prime ministers of India, Australia and Japan besides the president of the US – was tentatively scheduled for 24 September in Washington. The US has been keen to host the in person meeting since the four leaders met in a virtual summit on 12 March this year. But that meeting has been thrown into doubt due to reports of Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga saying on Friday that he would step down. Indian officials in New Delhi said they were awaiting confirmation from Washington about the meet since the US is the host for the summit.

On 25 September Modi is expected to address the UN General Assembly.

The bilateral segment of the US visit – ie Modi’s meeting with Biden – could happen before the Quad summit on 24 September. The two have met virtually on three different occasions- the Quad summit in March, the climate change summit in April, and the G-7 summit in June this year. The expected meeting with Biden comes at a time when talks have gathered pace for the formation of a new Taliban dominated government in Afghanistan after the 31 August pullout of all US-led international troops in adherence to a deadline set by Biden. The two sides could also talk on issues of common concern like China. Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has been in the US in recent days meeting top Biden administration officials including secretary of state Antony Blinken and deputy secretary Wendy Sherman in a bid to finalise the agenda for the meetings and discuss possible takeaways.

Modi was earlier supposed to visit UK for the G-7 summit, where he would have met Biden. But the trip was cancelled due to the second wave of covid-19 across India. In March this year, Modi visited Bangladesh to attend programmes organised around 50 years of Bangladesh's emergence as a new country after the 1971 India-Pakistan War.

Modi’s last trip to the US was in 2019 before the covid-19 pandemic hit the world later that year. During his September 2019 visit, the PM had addressed the “Howdy Modi" Indian community event in Texas that was also attended by then US President Donald Trump.

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