Modi Is Worried About Afghanistan While Biden Is Worried About China

7 min readSep 23, 2021


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his last international trip in March this year when he paid a brief visit to Bangladesh.

Six months later, Prime Minister Modi is on a trip again, but this time his destination is the United States, where he will also meet US President Joe Biden on September 24.

Why is Modi going to America?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will be very busy and he will focus on three things.

The first is to meet with President Joe Biden and attend a bilateral meeting.

Another important component of this trip will be attending the Quad Summit. The alliance, based in the United States, Japan, Australia and India, has held a virtual meeting, but this will be the first time that all the leaders will sit down and talk.

The third highlight of the trip will be Prime Minister Modi’s address to the UN General Assembly.

The Indian camp is eagerly awaiting President Modi’s meeting with President Biden. This is the first bilateral summit between India and the United States since Biden took over the presidency in January.

Modi is believed to have had personal and good relations with President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. But President Biden has not yet shown much warmth towards him.

Modi is also holding a separate meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris. The vice president’s mother is from Tamil Nadu and this will be the first formal meeting between the two leaders.

What is the main agenda of the bilateral meeting?

A number of bilateral and multilateral issues are to be discussed between the two leaders. Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Sharangala said that the two leaders would review the strong and multifaceted bilateral relations.

The two leaders will meet on September 24 to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties, strengthen defense and security cooperation, promote clean energy partnerships, explore new and emerging technologies, and discuss the crisis in Afghanistan. Will meet

However, in this 50-minute meeting, the issue of Afghanistan is likely to dominate most issues.

Foreign Secretary Sharangala is part of the Indian delegation. He acknowledged that the current situation in Afghanistan would be the focus of both leaders.

“Following the recent developments in Afghanistan, the current regional security situation will also be discussed at the bilateral meeting,” he said.

“As neighbors, the relationship between us and the people of Afghanistan is very old and strong. In this context, we will undoubtedly discuss the need to eradicate radicalism, extremism, cross-border terrorism and global terrorist networks.

Prime Minister Modi himself has in recent days described the problem of Afghanistan as serious.

A few days ago, in his speech at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference, Prime Minister Modi had said, “Recent events in Afghanistan will have the greatest impact on a neighboring country like ours.” Required’.

China and Pakistan are also part of the SCO. Modi pointed to four problems with Afghanistan under the Taliban, one of which is fundamentalism and instability, which he said would “encourage terrorist and extremist ideologies around the world.”

At the same time, other extremist groups may be encouraged to come to power through violence.

But the United States has shown little interest in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of its troops last month.

What is clear from the conversations with the experts is that the American people have no interest in Afghanistan and the Biden administration is not worried.

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On the contrary, after the withdrawal of US troops, India has real security concerns in the Taliban government. Therefore, India has legitimate reasons to be more interested in Afghanistan.

Will Modi be able to convince Biden on Afghanistan?

Ahmed Koro, a professor at San Diego State University in California, specializes in Islamic affairs. He believes that during his meeting with US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could urge the United States to focus on Afghanistan to prevent it from becoming a hotbed of international fundamentalism and terrorism.

But in his opinion, it is too late. “The United States has already decided to secede completely from Afghanistan,” he said. US public opinion opposes any reunification with Afghanistan. The United States now needs to focus on more serious issues. Like the growing Islamic extremism in China and sub-Saharan Africa.

Tom Gunsberg, a professor at the University of Chicago, is a political scientist. He says India knew the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was certain.

“I think India and the United States are a natural ally at the moment, despite some differences in priorities. The biggest problem is Chinese power, while withdrawal from Afghanistan was necessary. Although India feels more vulnerable, I don’t think the withdrawal was unexpected for India.

After the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the Biden administration would keep a close eye on the country and would not allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorist organizations.

Some say China is a major security threat to India, especially after last year’s clashes in the Gulwan Valley.

The United States is trying to re-establish its global leadership role in dealing with China. As soon as President Biden came to power in January, he announced that “the United States is back.”

He reiterated his commitment to global leadership on climate change, vaccine delivery and the China issue.

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In a speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, Biden pointed to China’s threats and assured US allies that he was ready to play a leading role.

Last week’s trilateral submarine agreement between the United States, Britain and Australia, called AUKUS, is a concrete step in that direction.

And if so, it could be better for Prime Minister Modi. The US will need India more than China.

Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University and a leading analyst, says: ۔ Now Biden will need India to make this alliance work effectively.

‘If India play their cards well, it will be a big player’

Although there is no personal chemistry between Prime Minister Modi and President Biden, the two countries have strategic interests.

Professor Lata Vardarajan is the director of the Society for International Security and Conflict Resolution in the Department of Political Science at San Diego State University. He thinks that PM Modi will be heard in the White House.

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“The Biden administration’s declaration of China as the biggest security threat is a basis around which a new set of negotiations will move forward,” she said. The commitment to implement its own security agreement was made clear before Aux and in that sense Modi will be very well received in the White House.

Professor Hanke says President Biden needs to focus on US global leadership after the US defeat in Afghanistan. There is an opportunity for India, as Professor Hanke argues.

“It is clear that global alliances are being formed anew. If India plays their cards well, it will be a big player.

Professor Alexander Lambert, academic director of the Geneva Institute of Geopolitical Studies in Switzerland, also believes that India has the potential to become a strong global player.

But they do not think that India can make full use of its potential by allying itself with the United States. In Afghanistan, India has been dependent on the United States for 20 years. In the end, it didn’t do him much good.

Should India consider other partnership alternatives to tackle Afghanistan?

Professor Alexander Lambert says India should look for other options.

“Of course, India will need China and Russia, not the United States, to settle issues with Afghanistan and the Taliban,” he said. Certainly not in Europe. Yes, it will need Pakistan. No matter how strange it may seem in Delhi. Take any strategic project, for example the natural gas pipeline project, if India and Pakistan do not agree on basic diplomatic standards, these projects will hardly be completed.

Experts believe that the success of Modi’s first personal bilateral talks with Biden will largely depend on one thing: linking President Biden to the Afghanistan issue, as it was before the withdrawal of US troops.

Modi can use his influence to persuade Biden to stay on Afghanistan if he is able to establish a personal relationship with the president. Just as his personal relationship with President Trump and President Obama became.

Professor Lata Varadrajan believes that PM Modi will be given a warm welcome in the White House.

“The Biden administration does not have the same personal closeness to Modi that it had with the Trump administration,” she said. I think America’s political interests are tied to India and they will be in favor of continuing this special relationship, so Narendra Modi will be warmly welcomed in the White House.

Professor Steve Hanke, a member of former US President Ronald Reagan’s Economic Advisory Council, argued that the two countries needed each other so good relations could be established between the two leaders.

“Despite Biden’s dislike of Prime Minister Modi for Hindu nationalism, India is important to him,” he said. As far as Modi is concerned, he also needs the cooperation of the United States because India’s long-standing problems with neighboring Pakistan have been exacerbated by the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan.

Both President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been critical of the Modi government’s human rights record during the presidential campaign last year. But since coming to power, both have refrained from criticizing Modi or his government.

In fact, Biden has hosted Prime Minister Modi in the past when he was US Vice President. The two leaders have spoken to each other on the phone several times in recent months and attended virtual conferences.

There is no doubt that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting a president whose whole focus is on curbing China’s growing power.

But as a former Indian diplomat says, the Indian Prime Minister has enough personal qualities to win the heart of the US President.

Originally published at




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