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Modi Invites Biden As Chief Guest For 2024 Republic Day Parade

NEW DELHI, Sept 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited US President Joe Biden to be the Chief Guest for the Republic Day celebrations on January 26 during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said on Wednesday.

Asked whether the Quad summit is being planned in India around the same time, Garcetti indicated that he was not aware of it. The Quad comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia. It is India's turn to host the annual Quad summit next year.

The US ambassador was asked at an event about the reports that India is considering inviting leaders of the Quad nations to grace the Republic Day celebrations.

US President Biden was invited to the Republic Day celebrations by Prime Minister Modi during the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Garcetti said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the chief guest at this year's Republic Day celebrations.

Every year, India invites world leaders to attend its Republic Day celebrations. There was no Republic Day Chief guest in 2021 and 2022 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the then Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest.

In 2019, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was the chief guest at the parade, while in 2018, leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries attended the celebrations.

In 2017, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the chief guest at celebrations, while the then French President Francois Hollande graced the occasion in 2016.

In 2015, the then US President Barack Obama watched the parade.

In 2014, the then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the chief guest at the celebrations, while Bhutan king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck attended the parade in 2013.

Other heads of state and government who have attended the Republic Day celebrations include Nicolas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, John Major, Mohammed Khatami and Jacques Chirac.

The then British Prime Minister John Major had attended the celebrations in 1993, Nelson Mandela participated as then South African President in 1995 while South Korean President President Lee Myung Bak witnessed the parade in 2010.

Biden Grants Clemency To 5 Jailed Iranians As US Confirms Prisoner Swap

WASHINGTON, Sept 18: The United States on Monday confirmed a prisoner swap with Iran and said that President Joe Biden had granted clemency to five Iranians jailed or awaiting trial for non-violent crimes.

A US official said that seven US citizens were on a Qatari plane that departed Iran. They include three previously identified Americans -- Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, and Emad Sharqi -- and two who wish to remain anonymous.

Also on the plane are Namazi's mother and Sharqi's wife, both of whom are US citizens who were barred from leaving Iran, although they were not imprisoned.

All are of Iranian descent and are considered citizens by Tehran, which does not recognise dual nationality.

The US official said that Joe Biden, in taking the politically risky move, was also imposing new sanctions on Iran's intelligence ministry and former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The sanctions were imposed over alleged deceit over the disappearance of Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in mysterious circumstances and is presumed dead.

"The United States will never give up on Bob Levinson's case. We call on the Iranian regime to give a full account of what happened to Bob Levinson," a senior US official said on condition of anonymity.

Levinson had travelled to the Iranian island of Kish on a CIA mission. Iran has not acknowledged his arrest.

The US official said that the five Iranians granted clemency were all charged or convicted with nonviolent crimes. Two were in prison, with the sentence of one soon to end, and three were awaiting trial, the official said.

Biden's Son Sues US Revenue Service, Alleges Unlawful Disclosure Of Taxes

WASHINGTON, Sept 18: President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden sued the US Internal Revenue Service on Monday, alleging unlawful disclosure of his taxes by whistleblowers who work for the US tax agency.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia, focused on statements made by IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler in media interviews amid a long-running investigation by House of Representatives Republicans into the younger Biden's taxes and business dealings.

Hunter Biden, 53, is at the center of a political maelstrom, as House Republicans mount an impeachment inquiry against his father focused on alleged ties between his business practices and his father's policies during his father's tenure as vice president from 2009 to 2017.

They have so far presented no evidence showing that the elder Biden profited from his son's businesses. The White House has denied any wrongdoing.

Hunter Biden is the first child of a sitting US president to have been criminally indicted. Prosecutors last week charged him with three counts related to the fact that he was lying about using illegal drugs when he bought a firearm. Hunter Biden and prosecutors earlier had reached a plea deal over tax and gun charges, but it collapsed.

Monday's lawsuit refers to "more than 20 nationally televised and non-congressionally sanctioned interviews and numerous public statements" by Shapley, Ziegler, and their lawyers about Hunter Biden. Shapley and Ziegler have testified in Congress as whistleblowers about alleged political interference in an IRS investigation into Biden's taxes. The Justice Department has denied any such interference.

"The lawsuit is about the decision by IRS employees, their representatives, and others to disregard their obligations and repeatedly and intentionally publicly disclose and disseminate Mr. Biden's protected tax return information outside the exceptions for making disclosures in the law," the lawsuit reads.

Hunter Biden is seeking $1,000 for each unauthorized disclosure of his tax return information, a declaration from the IRS, a data security plan from the agency, production of documents related to Biden's taxes, and other relief.

The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee called the lawsuit "intimidation" in a post on social media. The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hunter Biden last week also filed a lawsuit against a former White House aide during Donald Trump's presidency over the aide's alleged role in the publication of embarrassing images and emails.

Trump, who has cheered on the impeachment inquiry, was the first US president to be impeached twice. The Senate acquitted him both times. Donald Trump also has been charged in four criminal cases this year.

Joe Biden's Son Indicted For Illegally Buying Guns While On Drugs

WASHINGTON, Sept 13: US President Joe Biden's son Hunter was indicted Thursday for illegally buying a gun five years ago at a time when he admits he was using drugs heavily.

Hunter Biden was charged with two counts of making false statements, for claiming on forms that he was not using drugs illegally at the time he bought a Colt revolver in Delaware.

'Climate Change To Be High On Agenda For PM Modi-Biden Meet': US Official

WASHINGTON, Sept 7: Climate change, economic cooperation and multilateral development bank reform will be high on the agenda when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden hold a bilateral meeting in New Delhi on the sidelines of the G20 summit, senior American officials have said. Another issue that is likely to figure prominently in the conversation is the Russia-Ukraine war.

At a White House press briefing, John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said Joe Biden will leave for New Delhi on Thursday and meet Modi on Friday.

Asked about what will be discussed at the bilateral meeting, Kirby said, "Well, without getting too far ahead of the meeting that hasn't happened, it's certainly going to be an appropriate follow-on to their very robust bilateral discussions here when we hosted Prime Minister Modi at the White House not long ago for a very complete and official visit."

"I think you can expect that they will discuss the agenda for the G20, particularly the economic cooperation and multilateral investment opportunities that stand before the G20, and the President's strong desire to see multilateral development bank reform and reshaping continue," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.

Kirby said he had little doubt that the two leaders will also talk about the shared challenge of climate change and how much the US is hoping to have a robust discussion at the G20 about a transition to clean energy technology.

Another issue the NSC Coordinator said he had little doubt would be discussed is the ongoing war in Ukraine and the deleterious effect that it is having on low- and middle-income countries.

"In general, security, economic, and diplomatic challenges throughout the Indo-Pacific will certainly be something that they discuss," he added.

While Indian officials are yet to confirm the date of the bilateral meeting, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also said that it will happen on Friday.

At a separate White House briefing, Mr Sullivan said, "On Friday, President Biden will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi of the Republic of India. And on Saturday and Sunday, the President will participate in the official sessions of the G20 Summit."

The NSA said the United States' commitment to the G20 hasn't wavered and they hope this G20 Summit will show that the world's major economies can work together even in challenging times.

"So, as we head into New Delhi, our focus is going to be on delivering for developing countries; making progress on key priorities for the American people, from climate to technology; and showing our commitment to the G20 as a forum that can actually, as I said before, deliver. And thanks to the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and India's presidency, we hope we'll be able to do all of those things," he said.

The NSA said one of the main focuses for the US heading into the G20 will be delivering on an agenda of fundamentally reshaping and scaling up the multilateral development banks, especially the World Bank and the IMF.

"We know that these institutions are some of the most effective tools that we have for mobilising transparent, high-quality investment into developing countries. And that's why the United States has championed the major effort that is currently underway to evolve these institutions so that they are up to the challenges of today and tomorrow," saidr Sullivan.

He asserted that the United States will make it clear that it remains committed to the G20 as a critical forum for all of the major economies of the world to come together for global problem-solving.

From World Bank Reform To Climate Change; Biden's Agenda At G20 Summit

WASHINGTON, Sept 6: U.S. President Joe Biden will focus on reforming the World Bank and urging other multilateral development banks to boost lending for climate change and infrastructure projects during the G20 leaders summit in India, the White House said on Tuesday.

"That's one of our main focuses heading into the G20: delivering on an agenda fundamentally reshaping and scaling up the multilateral development banks, especially the World Bank," White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

The Biden administration is pushing the World Bank, founded as World War Two drew to a close to alleviate poverty, as a counterpart to China's overseas lending. New CEO Ajay Banga has pushed to expand climate change and hunger programs, and boost the bank's lending power with new funding and balance sheet rules.

The White House in late August asked Congress for $3.3 billion in additional funding as part of a supplemental budget request to "materially expand development and infrastructure financing" through the World Bank to offer countries a "credible alternative to the People's Republic of China's (PRC) coercive and unsustainable lending and infrastructure projects."

"We know that these institutions are some of the most effective tools that we have for mobilizing transparent, high quality investment into developing countries," Sullivan said Tuesday.

"And that's why the United States is championing a major effort that is currently underway to involve these institutions so that they are up to the challenges of today and tomorrow."

Biden will also call on G20 to provide meaningful debt relief for low and middle income countries, Sullivan said.

Biden To Reach India 2 Days Before G20, Hold Bilateral Talks With Modi

WASHINGTON, Sept 2: US President Joe Biden will travel to India September 7 to attend the G20 summit on the sidelines of which he will also have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House has announced.

India, President of the G20, will host global leaders for the Summit scheduled to take place on September 9 and 10 in New Delhi.

On Thursday, the President will travel to New Delhi, India to attend the G20 Leaders' Summit, the White House said in a statement on Friday.

On September 8, President Biden will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi.

On Saturday and Sunday, President Biden will participate in the G20 summit, where he and G20 partners will discuss a range of joint efforts to tackle global issues, including the clean energy transition and combating climate change.

They will also mitigate the economic and social impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war, and increase the capacity of multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, to better fight poverty, including by addressing global challenges.

While in New Delhi, President Biden will also commend Prime Minister Modi's leadership of the G20 and reaffirm the US commitment to the G20 as the premier forum of economic cooperation, including by hosting it in 2026.




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