PM Narendra Modi, Biden to meet in Papua New Guinea next month

US President Joe Biden, left, and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks during the G20 leaders summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. Reuters File photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his US counterpart Joe Biden will meet in Papua New Guinea next month where they will join Pacific Islands leaders to take part in the “historic” future-oriented meeting, the island’s Prime Minister James Marape said.

“This is a historic first and at the same time a ‘going forward’ futuristic meeting of global superpowers, in the biggest country in the Pacific,” Marape said in a statement.

Biden’s visit to Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby will be the first such visit by a sitting US President to the resource-rich but largely undeveloped country of 9.4 million people just north of Australia.

Papua New Guinea has been on the radar of both China and the US and its allies. The last time Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the nation was in 2018.

Washington has stepped up efforts to counter Beijing’s growing influence in the region after China struck a security pact with the Solomon Islands last year. China failed to reach a wider security and trade deal with 10 Pacific island countries.

The island nation is working out security pacts with the US and Australia while Marape has been invited to visit Beijing this year.

“In the Indo-Pacific conversation, PNG and the Pacific cannot be ignored. With our combined forest and sea areas, we have the world’s greatest carbon sink, and the biggest sea and air space on earth,” Marape said.

The 18 countries and territories in the Pacific Islands Forum cover 30 million square km (10 million square miles) of ocean. The region’s leaders say climate change is their greatest security threat, amid worsening cyclones and rising sea levels.

Modi and Biden will stop in Papua New Guinea on the way to Australia for a May 24 summit of the Quad, which also includes Japan and Australia.

Marape said he had invited Biden when they met in Washington last year and was “very honoured that he has fulfilled his promise to me to visit our country”.

With inputs from agencies

Read all the Latest NewsTrending NewsCricket NewsBollywood News,
India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.