“There is a contest between autocracies and democracies, and we have to succeed,” Mr. Biden said last summer during remarks in Madrid. He used the same phrase again at the United Nations in New York, during his State of the Union address this year and just two weeks ago during his meeting with the president of South Korea at the White House.
Mr. Modi, who is wildly popular in India, has deployed some of the same political approaches as Mr. Biden’s predecessor.
Publicly, the Indian leader embraced Mr. Trump as a kind of kindred spirit. Both rose to power by embracing right-wing populism and arguing they were champions of people fighting against a corrupt establishment. Both vowed to make their countries “great again.” And both exploited religious, economic and cultural divisions.
During a 2019 political tour through the United States he called “Howdy, Modi!” the prime minister spoke glowingly of Mr. Trump in front a 50,000 Americans at a Houston stadium.
“Every time, he has been the same — warm, friendly, accessible, energetic and full of wit,” Mr. Modi said of Mr. Trump. “I admire him for something more: his sense of leadership, a passion for America, a concern for every American, a belief in American future and a strong resolve to make America great again.”
Mr. Rossow said that barring Mr. Gandhi from Parliament “probably registered a bit more” among people concerned with Mr. Modi’s actions. But he said Mr. Modi had also pushed inside India to shift power from the central government to the states, even though many of the local governments are not controlled by his political party.
As a result, he said, Mr. Biden is likely to focus on the broader issues common to both nations when Mr. Modi arrives in Washington. The two men will also see each other this month during Mr. Biden’s visit to Australia for a summit.