President Joe Biden had an awkward encounter with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi beside him when he mistakenly thought that “The Star Spangled Banner” was playing and put his hand on his heart. When Biden realized the orchestra was playing the Indian national anthem, he gradually lowered his hand.
Video footage showing the encounter was later shared on social media by The Washington Examiner, captioning the video “Biden tries his best to recover after accidentally pledging allegiance to India.”
Modi appeared unfazed or unaware as he stood with his hands beside him and looked straight ahead.
The Indian Prime Minister is on his second visit to the United States since Biden became President. However, his trip has caused an uproar, especially from the left wing of the Democratic Party, who have expressed their opposition to some of Modi’s domestic policies.
The White House has expressed concerns that India’s democracy is regressing under Modi’s leadership, something Biden has pledged to address, and a host of other reported violations during Modi’s visit.
On Wednesday (June 21), a senior administration official previewed the private exchange between Modi and Biden, noting that the pair “have discussed religious discrimination, treatment of minorities,” and press freedoms.
The administration official relayed that Biden “approaches some of these discussions and issues with a degree of humility” because he understood the U.S. has its own challenges and “issues,” adding that the dialogue was based on that understanding and “mutual challenges and other issues” rather than “hectoring, lecturing, and scolding.”
Halfway through the anthem, Biden realized that it was the anthem of India pic.twitter.com/YdXx21p0QI
— Sprinter (@Sprinter99880) June 22, 2023