Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told United States President Joe Biden that the seeds have been sown for an even stronger friendship between India and the United States as the two leaders met at the White House, NDTV reported.

Modi met Biden on the third day of his visit to the United States. He will be in the country till September 25, when he will address the United Nations General Assembly.

This was the first time that Modi and Biden met in person after the latter became the US president in January.

Modi on Friday recalled his interactions with Biden in 2014 and 2016. “That time you had shared your vision for ties between India and USA. I am glad to see you are working to realise this vision,” he told the US president.

Modi said that Biden’s efforts on Covid-19, mitigating climate change and the Quad were noteworthy.

The prime minister remarked that trade holds great importance in the relationship between India and the US, according to ANI. “In this decade, we can be complementary to each other,” he said to the US president. “There are many things with the US, that are needed by India and many things with India that can be useful for the US. Trade will be a major sector in this decade”

The prime minister also said that he was glad that people of Indian origin are contributing to the US’ progress.

Biden said that he has long believed that ties between India and the US can help to solve several global challenges. “In fact, back in 2006, I had said that by 2020 India & the US will be among the closest nations in the world,” ANI quoted him as saying.

The US president said that ties between India and the US are destined to be stronger, NDTV reported. “We should explore what more we can do to fight Covid-19, climate challenge and work for a safer Indo-pacific,” he said. “Upholding democratic values, joint commitment to diversity, respect for non-violence and tolerance are more relevant today than ever.”

On February 8, Modi and Biden had agreed to work closely to fight the coronavirus pandemic and renew their partnership on climate change in a telephonic conversation. This was the first telephonic conversation between the two leaders after Biden took office.

On Friday, Modi is also slated to take part in the first in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit along with Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

The Quad, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a grouping of India, Australia, the United States and Japan. The four countries first met in November 2017. Countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region is believed to be among the objectives of the grouping.

The Quad countries are expected to announce a new working group on space, a supply chain initiative and an effort to deploy and diversify 5G telecommunication networks on Friday, NDTV reported.

Modi’s visit so far

On Thursday, Modi had met US Vice President Kamala Harris. The two leaders discussed the Covid-19 situation and the recent global developments related to the Afghanistan crisis and the Indo-Pacific region.

Modi told Harris that her appointment as the vice president was a historic occasion. “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,” the prime minister said, referring to Harris.

On Thursday, Modi also met Yoshihide Suga and Scott Morrison.

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.

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.