Biden and Modi Prioritize China Talks, Climate Change Takes a Backseat

April 25, 2024

The recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States garnered attention for its focus on addressing issues related to China, overshadowing discussions on climate change. While Modi received a lavish welcome, including a historic address to the U.S. Congress and a plant-based state dinner, the absence of substantive talks on climate change raised concerns amidst the pressing global crisis.

Warm Reception and Symbolic Gestures:

Modi’s visit was marked by grand gestures, with the Biden Administration honoring the Indian leader with a warm welcome. Notably, Modi addressed the U.S. Congress, becoming the sixth person in history to do so more than once. The state dinner at the White House featured an entirely plant-based menu, paying tribute to Modi’s vegetarian lifestyle and emphasizing sustainable dietary practices.

Millet Initiative and Sustainable Agriculture:

A unique aspect of the state dinner was the inclusion of millet in the menu, highlighting India’s efforts to promote millet cultivation and consumption. This initiative aligns with India’s broader commitment to sustainable agriculture and addressing food security challenges in the face of climate change.

Absence of Climate Change Discussions:

Despite the significant symbolism and discussions on China, the relative absence of substantive talks on climate change during Modi’s visit raised concerns. Given the shared responsibility of nations in addressing the global climate crisis, the lack of explicit discussions between Biden and Modi on this pressing issue was notable.

Importance of Climate Action:

Both the United States and India are among the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, underscoring the importance of their collaboration in advancing global climate action. While discussions on China understandably took precedence, future engagements between the two nations should prioritize climate change as a key aspect of their bilateral relationship.


Modi’s visit to the United States underscored the significance of addressing geopolitical issues, particularly concerning China. However, the limited attention given to climate change during the visit highlights the need for leaders like Biden and Modi to prioritize global environmental concerns. By placing climate action at the forefront of their agenda, both nations can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship.

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