The White House on Thursday said that newly sworn-in United States President Joe Biden valued America’s successful relationship with India and looked forward to continuing it. The US government added that Kamala Harris becoming the vice-president made the bilateral ties even stronger.

“President Biden, who of course has visited India many times, respects and values the long, bipartisan, successful relationship between leaders in India and the United States,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a media briefing. “He looks forward to a continuation of that.”

Psaki spoke about the significance of Harris occupying the prestigious office. “Obviously, he [Biden] selected – and yesterday, she was sworn in – the first Indian American to serve as President or Vice President, certainly a historic moment for all of us in this country, but a further, you know, cementing of the importance of our relationship.”

Biden was on Wednesday sworn in as the 46th president of the US. Harris made history by becoming the first woman vice-president. She is also the first person of Jamaican or South Asian descent to occupy the position.

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The new US president said in his inaugural speech that democracy had prevailed in the country after years of tensions and divide. “This is America’s day...this is democracy’s day.... A day of history and hope,” Biden said. “Today we celebrate triumph of not a candidate but the cause of democracy. Democracy is this hour democracy has prevailed.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the leaders who extended his wishes to the new administration. “My warmest congratulations to Joe Biden on his assumption of office as President of the United States of America,” he had tweeted after the inauguration ceremony. “I look forward to working with him to strengthen India-US strategic partnership. My best wishes for a successful term in leading USA as we stand united and resilient in addressing common challenges and advancing global peace and security.”

Modi also spoke about the ties between the two countries, which he said were based on shared values. “We have a substantial and multifaceted bilateral agenda, growing economic engagement and vibrant people to people linkages,” he added. “Committed to working with President Joe Biden to take the India-US partnership to even greater heights.”