Multilateral development banks, tech on plate during Modi-Biden meeting


Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi may discuss reforms for multilateral development banks (MDBs) along with a range of technology and defence issues with US President Joe Biden on Friday. Biden is expected to arrive on Friday afternoon for his first visit to India.

Both leaders are also widely expected to discuss the reshaping and scaling up of MDBs, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The current US administration has acknowledged that such institutions are among the most effective global tools for mobilising transparent, high-quality investment in developing countries, as sources have pointed out.

India has consistently argued that MDBs are ill-suited for the 21st century and are unable to address challenges like climate change, pandemics, fragility and migration, which require new financial capacity and approaches.

Securing the agreement of member countries to implement the $200 billion capital adequacy framework as part of MDB reforms is one of the top deliverables of the Group of Twenty (G20) Finance Track under India’s Presidency.

India has overcome hesitations in many countries that are concerned about contributing more funds to create room for additional lending, as reported by Business Standard on Wednesday.

According to a report by the G20 independent expert group on strengthening MDBs, an additional spending of around $3 trillion per year is needed until 2030.

Biden is also expected to address import restrictions imposed by New Delhi on foreign-made laptops and other electronic items, as previously reported by Business Standard.

Last month, India cited “security risks to citizens” as the primary reason for imposing import restrictions on several electronic items, including laptops, tablets, personal computers, and servers, starting from November 1.

However, reducing exposure to Chinese imports and promoting local manufacturing could also be motivating factors.

Both sides will also review the agreements signed during Modi’s state visit to Washington, DC. A wide range of agreements covering defence deals, semiconductors, critical minerals, cooperation in critical and emerging technology, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, telecommunications, and space cooperation were signed during that visit.

A sit-down with Bangladesh

While there is no official confirmation, sources have told Business Standard that Modi may also hold bilateral with Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina and Mauritian PM Pravind Jugnauth. Jugnauth arrived in Delhi on Thursday.

On Thursday, Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen stated that Hasina would raise the Teesta water-sharing issue. Issues related to connectivity, energy security, and food security are also likely to be on the agenda. During Hasina’s state visit to India in September last year, both leaders directed officials to collaborate in addressing issues such as river pollution and improving riverine environments and river navigability concerning common rivers.

Meanwhile, sources have indicated that Modi will hold a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, possibly in the form of a lunch on September 10 at the conclusion of the G20 summit. After visiting Delhi, Macron will travel to Bangladesh for a bilateral visit on the same day.


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