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    Indo-Pacific comes up in first Modi-Biden chat

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    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday spoke to U.S. President Joe Biden. It was the first conversation between the two leaders since Mr. Biden took office on January 20.

    “We discussed regional issues and our shared priorities. We also agreed to further our co-operation against climate change. President Biden and I are committed to a rules based international order. We look forward to consolidating our strategic partnership to further peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” said Mr. Modi in a message after the call.

    The reference to the “rules based international order” is consistent with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s telephonic talk with Yang Jiechi, his counterpart in Beijing. Mr. Blinken said during the weekend that the U.S. will “stand up” for democratic values and “hold Beijing accountable for its abuses of the international system”.

    The conversation between the Indian PM and the U.S. President was held in the backdrop of a series of messages from American celebrities in support of the ongoing protest by the Indian farmers against the new farm laws. Following the crackdown against the farmers, the U.S. State Department had come out on February 4 in support of the right to peaceful protests by the farmers.

    This was followed by the comment from Congressman Brad Sherman, co-chair of the India Caucus, in the U.S. House of Representatives who urged the Indian government to ensure “norms of democracy” are maintained while the farmers are allowed to protest peacefully. He also supported the farmers’ right to access the Internet.

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