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Prime Minister Narendra and US President Joe Biden discussed a wide-range of issues of global importance in the leaders’ first bilateral meeting. The Covid-19 pandemic, Indo-US trade and ties were a part of the 19-minute talks between Modi and Biden. The White House, in a press release after the meeting, mentioned that Modi spoke in Hindi and was interpreted in English by an Indian official.
Modi’s first remarks after the meeting were also delivered in Hindi, translated by an Indian official. The Prime Minister addressed the media after Biden, at the White House. Ever since the Prime Minister assumed office in 2014, he has preferred to speak in Hindi. According to reports, he has also encouraged Indian diplomats to start using Hindi with their counterparts.
Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, is one of the two official languages of the Indian government, along with English. It is an official language in nine states and three union territories, as well as a secondary official language in three other states. Hindi is also one of the Republic of India’s 22 scheduled languages.
However, Hindi has not yet been recognised as an official language by the United Nations. Reports state that Modi’s preference for Hindi in his speeches is an international push for recognition of the widely-spoken language. The Prime Minister has delivered a number of key speeches in Hindi previously, even at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014.
The Prime Minister in his opening remarks to US President Joe Biden thanked him for a “very warm welcome full of friendship”, not only to him but to also his delegation. “Mr President, in 2016, and even before that in 2014 we had an opportunity to have discussions in detail. And at that time, Mr. President, you had laid out a vision for India US relationship in great detail. And really, that was a vision that was inspirational. And today, Mr. President, as President, you are making all efforts and taking initiatives to implement that vision,” Modi said in Hindi.