Biden congratulates Modi, discusses US official Sullivan's visit

G20 summit in India

By David Brunnstrom, Kanishka Singh and Ismail Shakil

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Wednesday congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a call for his election victory, and the two discussed an upcoming visit to New Delhi by U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan, the White House said.

The State Department said separately that Washington looked forward to more cooperation with New Delhi to ensure a free Indo-Pacific region.

"The friendship between our nations is only growing as we unlock a shared future of unlimited potential," Biden said in a post on social media platform X.

Modi, whose National Democratic Alliance retained power with a surprisingly slim majority in voting results announced on Tuesday, called the U.S.-India partnership "a force for global good."

The U.S. and India have deepened ties in recent years given shared concerns about China's growing power, even as New Delhi has maintained its long-standing relationship with Russia despite the war in Ukraine, and even as rights advocates have raised concerns about the human rights situation in India, particularly surrounding treatment of minorities.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on Tuesday called the U.S.-Indian relationship "a great partnership," although the U.S. had concerns about human rights, which he said it would continue to raise openly with New Delhi.

The White House's statement after the call between the two leaders did not give the date of Sullivan's upcoming New Delhi visit. It said he will engage with the Indian government on shared priorities, including over technology.

Last year, during a visit by Modi to the U.S., the two countries announced a range of agreements on semiconductors, critical minerals, technology, defense and space cooperation.


Ties between the two countries have been tested recently by the discovery of assassination plots against Sikh separatists in Canada and the United States.

In November, U.S. authorities said an Indian government official had directed the plot in the attempted murder of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh separatist and dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in September that Canadian intelligence agencies were pursuing credible allegations linking the Indian government to the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June 2023 in Canada.

Trudeau also congratulated Modi in a statement on Wednesday and said Canada was ready to advance ties between the countries "anchored to human rights, diversity, and the rule of law."

Last month, the U.S. ambassador to India said Washington was satisfied so far with India's moves to ensure accountability in the alleged plots, but many steps were still needed and there must be consequences for what was a "red line for America."

India has expressed concerns about the linkage to officials and dissociated itself from the plots, saying it would formally investigate the concerns.

Political analysts say Washington is restrained in public criticism because it hopes India will act as a counterweight to an expansionist China.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa and David Brunnstrom and Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Katharine Jackson and Leslie Adler)