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Biden defends leaving Afghanistan, says it’s ‘best decision’ for America

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President Joe Biden vigorously defended the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of conflict, describing it as the best and the right decision for America which ended an era of major military deployments to rebuild other countries.

In his address to the nation from the White House on Tuesday, Biden said there was no reason to continue in a war that was no longer in the service of the vital national interest of the American people.

My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over, Biden said.

I give you my word: With all of my heart, I believe this is the right decision, a wise decision, and the best decision for America, he said.

Biden’s address to the nation came just 11 days before the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that precipitated the US intervention in Afghanistan.

The last C-17 cargo aircraft carrying US forces took off from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in the early hours of Tuesday, ending America’s military campaign in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, ousted from power by the US shortly after the 9/11 attacks, now control nearly all of the country.

Biden said the real choice in Afghanistan was “between leaving and escalating.”

“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” he said.

We succeeded in what we set out to do in Afghanistan over a decade ago. And we stayed for another decade. It was time to end this war, he said.

“This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.”

Biden also highlighted the evacuation of more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan, saying the extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravery, and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals.
Biden has been widely criticised over the abrupt manner of the US withdrawal, which led to the unexpected collapse of the Afghan security forces US troops had trained and funded for years.

We’ve been a nation too long at war. If you’re 20 years old today, you have never known an America at peace,” Biden said.

Biden said that he was the fourth President who has faced the issue of whether and when to end this war.

When I was running for President, I made a commitment to the American people that I would end this war. And today, I’ve honoured that commitment. It was time to be honest with the American people again. We no longer had a clear purpose in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan, he said.

After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, I refused to send another generation of America’s sons and daughters to fight a war that should have ended long ago, Biden added.

“After more than USD 2 trillion spent in Afghanistan – a cost that researchers at Brown University estimated would be over USD 300 million a day for 20 years in Afghanistan – for two decades – yes, the American people should hear this: USD 300 million a day for two decades,” he said.

If you take the number of USD 1 trillion, as many say, that’s still USD 150 million a day for two decades. And what have we lost as a consequence in terms of opportunities? I refused to continue in a war that was no longer in the service of the vital national interest of our people, he added.

Biden vowed to defend America against evolving threats from terrorist groups, such as ISIS, without getting the US involved in another ground war.

“This is a new world. The terror threat has metastasized across the world, well beyond Afghanistan. We face threats from al-Shabaab in Somalia; al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria and the Arabian Peninsula; and ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates across Africa and Asia,” he said.

“The fundamental obligation of a President, in my opinion, is to defend and protect America not against threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow,” he added.

But I also know that the threat from terrorism continues in its pernicious and evil nature. But it’s changed, expanded to other countries. Our strategy has to change too, he added.

He said the US must now confront challenges from powerful adversaries such as Russia and China.

We’re engaged in a serious competition with China. We’re dealing with the challenges on multiple fronts with Russia. We’re confronted with cyberattacks and nuclear proliferation, he said.

We have to shore up America’s competitiveness to meet these new challenges in the competition for the 21st century. And we can do both: fight terrorism and take on new threats that are here now and will continue to be here in the future, he added.

There’s nothing China or Russia would rather have, would want more in this competition than the United States to be bogged down another decade in Afghanistan. As we turn the page on the foreign policy that has guided our nation the last two decades, we’ve got to learn from our mistakes,” he said.

The United States, he said, will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries.

We just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it. We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground — or very few if needed, he said.

We’ve shown that capacity just in the last week. We struck ISIS-K remotely, days after they murdered 13 of our servicemembers and dozens of innocent Afghans. And to ISIS-K: We are not done with you yet, Biden said.

 

 

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Modi Meets CEOs of Top American Companies, Encourages them to Invest in India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held separate meetings with the heads of America’s top five companies in sectors ranging from 5G to semiconductors, drones and solar energy. During the meeting, he encouraged them to increase investment by mentioning the vast possibilities available in India.

After Modi met with Cristiano Amon, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Qualcomm, and Mark Widmer, CEO of First Solar, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) wrote on Twitter: “Talks on Technology… The conversation was fruitful”. According to the PMO, “Prime Minister Modi spoke about the vast opportunities available in India. Amon said he is looking forward to working with India on 5G and other Digital India initiatives.

Qualcomm Ventures
The Indian Prime Minister first met Cristiano R Amon, President and CEO of tech giant Qualcomm Ventures, and discussed issues such as 5G, electronics and telecom manufacturing PLI schemes and measures to strengthen the innovation ecosystem.

PM Modi spoke about “making India a global innovation hub” during the meeting and informed Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. Cristiano R Amon, meanwhile, expressed keenness in working with India in areas such as 5G.

Adobe
Prime Minister Narendra Modi next met Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and discussed the company’s ongoing activities in India. The two also held talks about ideas to leverage ‘Digital India’ flagship programme in sectors like health, education and R&D.

First Solar
Next in the line to meet PM Modi was the CEO of power manufacturing company First Solar, Mark Widmar. The two talked about India’s renewable energy landscape. During the meeting, the Prime Minister elaborated on India’s efforts to harness solar energy, including the ‘One World, One sun and One grid’ initiative and investment opportunities in the sector.

Discussions also occurred about First Solar’s interest in setting up manufacturing facilities in India using their unique thin-film technology by availing the recently launched Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme and integrating India into global supply chains.

General Atomics
Prime Minister Narendra Modi then met General Atomics CEO Vivek Lall and discussed advancing defence manufacturing and emerging technologies to increase India’s building capacity.

PM Modi spoke about India’s liberal drone policy and the opportunity in manufacturing due to the PLI scheme with Vivek Lall, who said that India was an attractive destination for the manufacturing of drones. He also said that a dedicated drone hub could be created in India to support the entire ecosystem of drones.

Blackstone
The last CEO PM Modi met on Thursday was Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman, who briefed him about its ongoing projects in India and its interest in further investments in the infrastructure and real estate sectors.

With the Blackstone CEO, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also talked about “various investment opportunities in India”, including those arising due to the National Infrastructure and National Monetisation Pipelines.

Amish Mahajan
Content Writer
JK Media

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India, US natural partners with similar values, geopolitical interests: PM Modi tells VP Kamala Harris

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday pointed out that India and United States have similar values and geopolitical interests, and called the two countries “natural partners”. PM Modi also asserted that coordination and cooperation between both nations were also increasing.

The prime minister’s statement comes in a joint press conference with US Vice President Kamala Harris ahead of the delegation-level talks.

“India and America being the largest and oldest democracy are natural partners. We have similar values, geopolitical interests, and our coordination and cooperation is also increasing. Strengthening supply chain, new emerging technologies, and space, are areas of special interest to you. For me, these areas are of priority. In these areas, our cooperation is important,” he said.

“India and the US have very vibrant and strong people-to-people connections. More than 4 million people of Indian origin, the Indian community is a bridge between two countries, a bridge of two countries and their contribution to economies and societies of both our countries are indeed praiseworthy,” the Prime Minister added.

It may be noted that this was the prime minister’s first in-person meeting with VP Kamala Harris after she made history by becoming the first Indian-origin person to hld the top post in US.

PM Narendra Modi is currently on a three-day visit to the United States. During his visit to the US, PM Modi also expressed his gratitude to the US for extending help when the country was hit by the second wave of COVID-19 earlier this year.

“I extend my gratitude for the warm welcome that you have extended to me and my delegation. Some months ago, we had the opportunity to talk to each other over the phone. We had a detailed discussion at that time. The way you spoke to me so warmly and naturally. I will always remember that,” he said.

“It was a very difficult time when India was hit by the second wave of COVID-19. The way you expressed concern and extended a helping hand, I express my gratitude to you. I will like to thank you,” he added.

PM Modi also praised US for its cooperation. The Prime Minister said, “Like a true friend, you had given a message of cooperation and it was full of sensitivity. Immediately after that, we found that the US government, US corporate sector and Indian community all came together to help India.”

The Prime Minister`s meeting with VP Harris came a day ahead of his highly anticipated bilateral meet with US President Joe Biden.

PM Modi praised Harris as a “source of inspiration” and said her election as Vice President of the USA has been an important and historic event.”

Your election as Vice President of the USA has been an important and historic event. You are a source of inspiration for many across the world. I am confident that under President Biden and your leadership our bilateral relations will touch new heights,” he said.

“You and President Biden took up the leadership of the United States in a challenging atmosphere in challenging times. But within a very short period of time, you have had many achievements to your credit whether it is COVID-19, climate or the Quad. The US has taken a very important initiative in all these issues,” the Prime Minister said. PM Modi also extended an invitation to Harris to visit India.

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Washington on Wednesday for his much-touted US visit. He had earlier addressed the Global COVID-19 Summit called by US President Joe Biden.

Biden is scheduled to host PM Modi at the White House today (September 24, 2021). This is going to be the first in-person meeting between the two leaders after Biden took over as the US President on January 20. Biden will host the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders` Summit, which will be joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

PM Modi`s US visit will conclude on September 25 with an address at the United Nations General Assembly focusing on the pressing global challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to combat terrorism, climate change and other important issues.

This is Prime Minister Modi`s first visit abroad beyond the neighbourhood since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. PM Modi is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and senior officials.

The high-level session of the UNGA began on Tuesday in New York. The theme for this year`s General Debate is `Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations`.

 

 

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Strong India-Japan friendship augurs well for entire planet: PM Modi after meeting Yoshihide Suga

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Terming Japan as one of India’s most valued partners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that he had an excellent meeting with his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga on a variety of subjects that would further boost cooperation between the two nations.
PM Modi, who is on a three-day visit to the US, said a strong India-Japan friendship augurs well for the entire planet.
“Japan is one of India’s most valued partners. I had an excellent meeting with PM Yoshihide Suga on a variety of subjects that would further boost cooperation between our nations. A strong India-Japan friendship augurs well for the entire planet,” PM Modi tweeted.
PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga had a “fruitful” meeting in Washington wherein they discussed several issues including ways to give further impetus to trade and cultural ties.
“Furthering friendship with Japan. Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @sugawitter had a fruitful meeting in Washington DC. Both leaders held discussions on several issues including ways to give further impetus to trade and cultural ties,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.
This was also PM Modi’s first in-person meeting with Suga after the latter took over the reins from Shinzo Abe in September last year.
The bilateral meeting comes a day ahead of the first in-person summit of the Quad, quadrilateral cooperation between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.
In April this year, PM Modi held a telephonic conversation with Suga and discussed cooperation in diverse areas including high technology, skill development and combating the COVID-19 pandemic together.
Besides PM Modi, Japanese PM Suga and Scott Morrison of Australia Prime Minister will also participate in the summit hosted by the US President on September 24.
The leaders will review progress made since their first virtual summit on March 12, 2021, and discuss regional issues of shared interests, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said in a statement on September 14.

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Covid-19 Stats

26 Sep 2021, 2:31 AM (GMT)

Coronavirus Stats

33,651,221 Total Cases
446,948 Death Cases
32,894,762 Recovered Cases

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