Biden aide Sullivan heads to India to prep for Modi state visit - sources

Biden aide Sullivan heads to India to prep for Modi state visit - sources


Biden aide Sullivan heads to India to prep for Modi state visit - sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, is headed to India next week for final preparations ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to Washington later this month, senior U.S. officials told Reuters.

Washington is working to deepen ties with the world's largest democracy, forging military and industrial links with the South Asian country as a key counterweight to China's dominance, even as the two democracies differ on how to deal with Russia's Ukraine invasion.

"The visit of the prime minister is an opportunity for the president to affirm a vision of the U.S. and India among the closest partners in the world," one of the officials said about the state visit, which includes a June 22 White House dinner.

"The national security adviser's trip next week to India is focusing on a lot of that, on looking at the outcomes and making sure that we're moving in the right direction."

The White House hasn't announced Sullivan's trip and the officials declined to be named.

Last May, Biden and Modi announced a bilateral "initiative on critical and emerging technology," dubbed an "iCET," directing their governments to work together on advanced technology from artificial intelligence (AI) to semiconductor chips and quantum computing, especially in defense.

As part of the initiative, the Biden administration is poised to sign off on a deal that would allow General Electric (GE.N) to produce jet engines powering Indian military aircraft in that country, Reuters reported May 31.

"I think that we're moving forward on that in a good way," the U.S. official said on Wednesday. "We're going to be notifying that to Congress shortly."

India, the world's largest arms importer, depends on Russia for nearly half its military supplies, and has bought fighter jets, tanks, nuclear submarines and an aircraft carrier over the decades.

Washington has been eager to meet more of India's defense needs and to seek this year Group of 20 (G20) host's support in putting pressure on Russia for the war in Ukraine.