Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the Covid-19 situation and the recent global developments related to the Afghanistan crisis and the Indo-Pacific region in a meeting with United States Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday. Modi is on a five-day visit to the US.

This was the first in-person meeting between the two leaders since Harris took over as vice president of the US.

“Your assuming the vice presidency is a historic occasion,” Modi said, referring to Harris, at a joint briefing. “Several people across the world are inspired by you. I am confident India-USA ties will grow further under the leadership of [US President] Joe Biden and you.”

Deliberating upon the pandemic situation, Modi and Harris discussed the vaccination process in India and the US and spoke about ensuring supply of critical medicines, therapeutics and healthcare equipment to fight the disease, an official release said.

Harris and Modi also held talks on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific amid a multinational diplomatic crisis that emerged recently with the region in focus.

On September 15, the US, the UK and Australia had announced that their trilateral security pact, dubbed Aukus, for the Indo-Pacific region. In response, France had recalled the country’s ambassadors to Australia and the US.

The pact has angered France as Australia entered the alliance by scrapping an earlier submarine deal with the country. On Tuesday, Modi had discussed cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region with French President Emmanuel Macron as well.

During the meeting, Modi also invited Harris to visit India.

Later on Friday, Modi is scheduled to attend the first in-person summit of the Quad grouping. He will address the General Assembly of the United Nations on Saturday.

The Quad is an alliance of the US, India, Australia and Japan.

Modi meets Japanese and Australian PMs

Ahead of the meeting with Harris, Modi also held separate meetings with his Japanese and Australian counterparts Yoshihide Suga and Scott Morrison.

The Japanese and Australian prime ministers are also in Washington to attend the Quad summit.

During his meeting with Suga, Modi “reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region”, an official release from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“They agreed to enhance bilateral security and defence cooperation, including in the area of defence equipment and technologies,” the release said.

In his talks with Morrison, the prime minister expressed satisfaction on regular high-level engagements between the two countries, including the recently held first “2+2 Dialogue” between Indian and Australian foreign and defence ministers.

The two leaders discussed possibilities of providing clean technologies and spoke on the need for environment protection, a release from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Earlier on Thursday, Modi held meetings with the chief executive officers of five United States-based companies to discuss renewable energy, defence and 5G technology.

Besides attending the Quad summit, Modi is also scheduled to hold bilateral talks with US President Joe Biden on Friday.