At the White House tonight, President Biden will host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a private dinner that begins an immersive country visit rivaled only by those of America’s closest allies.
The events, which include a star-studded gala dinner and Modi’s address to Congress, are an attempt by the US to bring India closer together. They also showed that, like his predecessors, Biden concluded he needed India despite Modi’s government cracking down on dissent in a way that raised fears of an authoritarian shift.
Biden said the battle between democracy and authoritarianism is the defining struggle of his time. But in times of confrontation with Russia and vociferous confrontation with China, he believes that he should accept important but imperfect friends.
“Biden’s rolling out the red carpet – despite India’s resistance to taking a stand on the war in Ukraine and concerns about Modi’s weakening of democracy – speaks to America’s view of India as an indispensable force,” said my colleague Mujib. Meshal, South Asia bureau chief for The Times. .