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Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for the US on a three-day visit on Wednesday, with stops in Washington and New York. This is his first foreign trip since March last year when he visited Bangladesh. Mint unpacks his visit:

What’ll  be the highlight of Modi’s US visit?

One of the key events in the US is a meeting of the leaders of the four Quad countries—the US, India, Japan and Australia—which have common interests—primarily, a free and open Indo-Pacific, against the backdrop of China’s military muscle flexing. They had held a virtual summit on 12 March when they agreed to boost covid vaccine production for countries in the Indo-Pacific. The understanding was that India would manufacture the vaccine, with Hyderabad-based Biological E receiving the nod from Johnson & Johnson. Japan would fund the project and Australia would help with distribution of vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region.

What can be expected from Quad meeting?

A possible takeaway is an understanding on creating a safe supply chain for semiconductors, which would signal that the alliance meant to counter China in the Indo-Pacific is broadening its scope. Chinese chip-makers are making aggressive investments to ramp up capacity for widely used semiconductors. The Quad may state that “resilient, diverse and secure technology supply chains for hardware, software, and services" are vital to their shared national interests, according to Japan’s Nikkei Asia. The Quad countries may also announce an infrastructure initiative to take on China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Photo: Bloomberg
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Photo: Bloomberg

What are Modi’s other engagements in the US?

Modi is expected to hold bilateral talks with US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison, and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga. The meetings with Biden and Suga will be the first in-person exchanges that Modi will be having with both in their current roles. Modi has met Biden at least twice when he was US Vice President in the Obama administration.

What issues are likely in bilateral meetings?

The situation in Afghanistan, China’s territorial belligerence, the Australia-UK-US pact on nuclear submarines, and climate change are some of the likely issues. The need to stem radicalism, cross-border terrorism, dismantling terrorist networks, bolstering defence and trade ties, and exploring cooperation in new and emerging technologies will be on the agenda during talks with Biden, senior officials said. With Biden’s interest in climate change, their meeting could see some announcements in this area.

What’ll  Modi’s  schedule in New York include?

Modi will reach New York on 24 September, where he will be the first speaker at the 76th UN General Assembly session on 25 September. “Building resilience through hope" post the pandemic is one of the themes of the session this year, as is “revitalizing the UN". In his speech, Modi is expected to touch on the regional situation i.e. Afghanistan, cross-border terrorism, global efforts to combat covid-19, the climate change challenge, and the need to reform the UN and other multilateral systems.

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