US President Biden Tells PM Modi, “Everyone in US Wants to Meet You”

During a meeting of Quad leaders in Tokyo, US President Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese claimed that they are receiving many requests from citizens to attend events where Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be speaking.

President Biden came up to PM Modi and said, “I should take your autograph,” adding, “You are causing me a real problem. Next month, we will have dinner for you in Washington. Everyone in the whole country wants to come. I have run out of tickets. You think I am kidding? Ask my team. I am getting phone calls from people I have never heard of before. Everyone from movie stars to relatives. You are too popular.”

In June, PM Modi will go to the US on a state visit following an invitation from President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. The US leaders will host the Indian leader for a state dinner at the White House.

“Mr Prime Minister, you have made a significant impact on everything, including what we are doing in the QUAD. You also made a fundamental shift in climate change. You have influence in the Indo-Pacific. You are making a difference,” said President Biden.

UK PM Rishi Sunak Seals Hiroshima Accord on Japan Visit

On his visit to Japan for the G7 summit, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak clinched the Hiroshima Accord for greater UK-Japan economic, security and technology collaboration.

The Hiroshima Accord signed on May 17 will cover agreements on defence, trade and investment, science and technology collaboration, and joint work on tackling global issues like climate change. The new UK-Japan global strategic partnership is also being seen as a counterbalance to Chinese dominance in the region. It includes a Semiconductors Partnership to pursue bold R&D cooperation and skills exchange to boost supply chain resilience in the sector.

The UK also corroborated that its Carrier Strike Group warship will return to the Indo-Pacific in 2025, after a maiden voyage to the region including India in 2021. 

Rishi Sunak is the first British Prime Minister to visit Hiroshima – the site of the Second World War atomic bombing. While in Tokyo, he visited a naval base to confirm new UK-Japan defence cooperation, which includes doubling UK troop numbers in forthcoming joint exercises and agreeing on a formal Consult Clause, whereby the UK and Japan commit to consult each other on important regional and global security issues and consider measures in response. It was also announced during his visit that leading Japanese businesses have committed to invest almost GBP 18 billion in businesses and projects across the UK.

India Will be Happy to Host Quad Summit in 2024, Says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 20 May said that India will be happy to host the Quad Summit in 2024. He said this in the presence of US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during this year’s Quad Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

Prime Minister Modi also emphasised that the “Quad will continue to make efforts towards global good, the welfare of the people, prosperity, and peace.”

At the summit, US President Joe Biden said that the Quad grouping has the potential to change the dynamics of the world. Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to engage in practical cooperation with other groupings/countries of South Asia and the Pacific Islands. Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese affirmed standing together for an open, stable, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

Originally scheduled in Australia, this year’s Quad Summit was conducted in Japan as US President Joe Biden had to postpone his trip to Australia due to ongoing debt limit talks in Washington. Japan is hosting the G7 summit and all the leaders of the group are currently visiting the country. Although India is not a member of G7, PM Modi is also travelling to Japan for the G7 and Quad Summit on a personal invite of Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida.

PM Modi, Brazilian President Lula Discuss Ways to Deepen Bilateral Relations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Lula da Silva engaged in bilateral discussions on May 21 during the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

In a tweet, the Indian premier said, “The talks with President Lula da Silva were productive and wide-ranging. India and Brazil will keep working together to deepen trade ties. We also discussed diversifying cooperation in sectors like agriculture, defence and more.”

Prime Minister Modi, along with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and other leaders, paid homage to the victims of Hiroshima at Peace Memorial Park in Japan. PM Modi, on the third day of his visit to Japan, went to the Peace Memorial Museum and viewed the documented exhibits and signed the visitor’s book. PM Modi is the first Indian leader to visit Hiroshima, the first city to experience a nuclear bomb.

In addition to meeting the Brazilian leader, PM Modi had a meeting with the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the G7 summit. On May 20, he engaged in bilateral meetings with several world leaders, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his wife, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

PM Modi Awarded with Fiji’s Companion of the Order Honour

Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka bestowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Fiji’s highest honour on the sidelines of the 3rd India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Papua New Guinea on May 21.

The Companion of the Order of Fiji is a significant honour to be received by only a handful of non-Fijians to date. It is awarded to people for their eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Fiji or to humanity at large.

On behalf of Fijian President Ratu Wiliame M. Katonivere, PM Rabuka bestowed PM Narendra Modi with the honour. The Prime Minister of India later dedicated the honour to the people of India and to the generations of the Fiji-Indian community, who have played a key role in building the special and lasting bond between the two countries, informed India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

The Prime Ministers also held a comprehensive discussion on a wide range of matters, with a special emphasis being put on strengthening bilateral relationship between the countries.

PM Narendra Modi co-hosted the FIPIC III Summit in Port Moresby along with his Papua New Guinean counterpart, James Marape. Prime Minister Modi announced a 12-step action plan to propel India’s partnership with Pacific Island countries.

PM Modi Unveils 10-Point Call to Action at Outreach Session of G7

The world community should focus on building inclusive food systems that protect the most vulnerable, such as marginal farmers, to tackle the challenge of food security, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 20 at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

Speaking in Hindi, PM Modi made the remarks while unveiling a 10-point call to action at an outreach session of the G7 Summit that focused on pressing global challenges such as food and health security, developmental issues and gender equality. India was among the eight guest countries participating in three outreach sessions of the summit hosted by Japan.

“Global fertiliser supply chains have to be strengthened. Political obstacles in these have to be removed. And the expansionist mentality that is occupying fertiliser resources has to be stopped. This should be the purpose of our cooperation,” he said. The leader said that the global community can create a new model of natural farming as an alternative to using fertilisers, and the benefits of digital technology should be provided to every farmer in the world. “It should be our endeavour to separate organic food from fashion statement and commerce, and connect it with nutrition and health,” he added.

Over 40 Countries Sign ‘Register of Damage’ Against Russia amid War

At least 40 countries have signed the Register of Damage, an instrument approved by the 46-nation Council of Europe to document the damage in Ukraine so that Russia can be held liable for compensation.

The instrument, signed on May 17 at the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, set up an evidentiary record ahead of possible future prosecution of Russian leaders. The document is a “necessary” step ensuring “justice that is centred on the victims” of the war, said Marija Pejčinović Burić, the council’s head.

European leaders hailed the new instrument for Ukraine they signed on to as “historic” and a first step to making Russia pay for its war. The instrument sets up an evidentiary record ahead of a possible future prosecution of Russian leaders, thus laying the groundwork for compensation, said Buric.

The countries that signed the document include the United States and all other G7 nations. Other countries were finalising internal procedures to do so. Marija Pejcinovic Buric and other leaders at the summit emphasised that countries outside the Council of Europe, which is a pan-continental rights body separate from the European Union but incorporating all 27 EU member states, could support the register. Russia was removed from the council last year after invading Ukraine.

The register of damage will also be lodged in The Hague, with a satellite office in Ukraine. It will detail war-time claims of harm and destruction wrought by Russia.

US Court Approves Extradition of 26/11 Attack Accused to India

A US court has given its consent to the Indian request for the extradition of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

On June 10, 2020, India filed a complaint seeking the provisional arrest of 62-year-old Rana with a view towards extradition. Rana was arrested in the US for his role in these attacks. The Biden Administration had supported and approved the extradition of Rana to India.

“The Court has reviewed and considered all of the documents submitted in support of and in opposition to the Request, and has considered the arguments presented at the hearing,” said Judge Jacqueline Chooljian, US Magistrate Judge of the US District Court Central District of California, in a 48-page court order released on May 17.

“Based on such review and consideration and for the reasons discussed herein, the Court makes the findings set forth below, and CERTIFIES to the Secretary of State of the United States the extraditability of Rana on the charged offences that are the subject of the Request,” the judge wrote.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing into Rana’s role in the 26/11 attacks carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists in 2008. The NIA has said that it is ready to initiate proceedings to bring him to India through diplomatic channels.

During court hearings, US Government attorneys argued that Rana was aware that his childhood friend, Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley was involved with LeT, and by assisting him, he was supporting the terrorist organisation and its associates.

Arjun Ram Meghwal Becomes India’s New Law Minister

In a Union Cabinet reshuffle on May 17, Arjun Ram Meghwal became the new Union Law Minister of India, while Kiren Rijiju was moved to the Earth Sciences Ministry. Meghwal will now have the charge of Culture, Parliamentary Affairs as Minister of State, and Independent Charge of the Law Ministry.

The new law minister, Meghwal hails from a middle-class family in Rajasthan’s Bikaner. The 65-year-old politician received his primary education at a government school in his village and completed his secondary education at Jawahar Jain Secondary School in Bheenasar. He completed his graduation in law in 1977, after which he did his post-graduation. He began his professional career in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and served as a District Magistrate in the Rajasthan government. However, he later decided to shift his focus to social service and entered politics. The BJP leader was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament, for the first time in 2009 from Bikaner. He was re-elected in 2014 and made the political party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha.

The senior politician has held various positions and responsibilities throughout his political career. Meghwal has been a member of several parliamentary consultative and advisory committees, including the Consultative Committee on External Affairs, Standing Committee on Defence, Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forest, Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, to name a few.

India Signs Deal to Allow 42,000 Indians to Work in Israel

Israel and India on May 9 inked an agreement that will allow 42,000 Indian workers to work in the Jewish state in the sectors of construction and nursing, in a move expected to help deal with the rising cost of living and assist thousands of families waiting for nursing care. Of the 42,000 Indian workers, 34,000 workers will be engaged in the construction field and the rest 8,000 will serve the country’s nursing needs.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who reached New Delhi on May 9, held talks with his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar. The ministers discussed ways to strengthen India-Israel ties by adding direct flights, continuing cooperation in agriculture and water management, and expanding cooperation in the fields of artificial intelligence and cyber defence.

In reference to the proposed rail and port link, the Israeli foreign minister said that it would decrease the route between Asia and Europe, and make Israel a commercial, technological and transportation hub in the changing trade routes in the Middle East.

Officials from the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and India met early May in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and discussed a rail and port network linking the Gulf states and India. It is believed that the same may be extended on the other side to include connectivity with Israel.