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Modi, Kamala Harris to have first meeting in person soon

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet US Vice President Kamala Harris for their first direct personal encounter on Thursday afternoon (US time), according to the White House.

The meeting is scheduled for 3.15 p.m. (12.45 a.m. Friday in India) at the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office.

The meeting is closed, but before it starts, a media pool will be allowed in to see them and the leaders can make statements or entertain questions at their discretion.

Harris and Modi are known to have interacted so far through only one phone call.

Although she had spoken to several world leaders soon after becoming Vice President, she had a phone conversation with Modi only in June when she discussed President Joe Biden’s offer to send vaccines to India from the US stockpile when it suffered a Covid surge.

Modi tweeted after the call: “I deeply appreciate the assurance of vaccine supplies to India as part of the US Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing. I also thanked her for all the support and solidarity from the US government, businesses and Indian diaspora.”

In protocol terms, Harris is the host of Modi since he is not a head of state like President Biden, but a head of government. However, in practical terms, the President treats Prime Ministers of major countries as equals.

The Vice President’s Ceremonial Office, where Modi and Harris will meet, is in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB), which is located next to the West Wing on the White House premises, according to the White House.

The historic site was originally used by Navy Secretaries and later for a short time by the Army chief of staff. The late President Herbert Hoover also used it briefly after a fire in the West Wing in 1929.

It was turned over to Vice Presidents in 1960.