Narendra Modi meets Kamala Harris, ahead of talks with Joe Biden

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prior to talks at the Vice Presidents Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House, in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2021.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday as part of a three-day official visit stateside.

The two leaders exchanged views on a number of issues including the situation in Afghanistan, the coronavirus pandemic, tackling climate change as well as the U.S. and India’s commitment toward the Indo-Pacific region, according to the Indian foreign ministry.

They also discussed potential cooperation in areas such as space, technology and health care.

The visit come a day before Modi’s first face-to-face meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington.

Speaking in Hindi, Modi said at a joint briefing that the U.S. and India are natural partners that share similar values and geopolitical interests — and that cooperation between the two countries have continued to increase.

“India, of course, is a very important partner to the United States,” Harris added. “Throughout our history, our nations have worked together, have stood together, to make our world a safer and stronger world.”

“The United States, like India, feels very strongly about the pride of being a member of the Indo-Pacific, but also the fragility and the importance and strength as well, of those relationships, including maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” she said.

While the exact geographical definition of the Indo-Pacific vary by countries and administrations, broadly it refers to the interconnected area between the Indian and Pacific oceans, joined together by the straits of Malacca in the heart of Southeast Asia.

U.S. pivot to Asia

What to expect from the Quad summit

The four leaders from the Quad countries met virtually in March and announced the formation of three working groups looking into areas such as vaccine expertise, critical and emerging technologies and climate change.

On Friday, it’s likely that the leaders may share some of the outputs from those working groups, according to Richard Rossow, the Wadhwani chair in U.S.-India policy studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“I suspect you might see some outputs from those three working groups, most notably cooperation on Covid where the world is looking for a greater access to vaccines,” Rossow told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.” on Friday.

“Among the Quad, you have got two of the largest vaccine producers in the United States and India,” he said. “There also may be some space to carve out new work groups as well.”

It is unlikely that any Quad-related documents or announcements from Friday’s meeting would explicitly mention China, said Dhruva Jaishankar, executive director at the Observer Research Foundation America.

“You do see a bigger emphasis on providing global public goods for the Indo-Pacific region, starting with the vaccine initiative but also extending to critical and emerging technologies, climate change and … perhaps other areas as well,” Jaishankar told CNBC’ “Street Signs Asia” on Friday.

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