US, India cooperation can rise beyond bilateral ties: Modi
Manila: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held wide-ranging talks with US President Donald Trump and told him that both nations could rise beyond bilateral ties and work jointly for the future of Asia, reflecting their growing convergence on strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region.
In the meeting which took place on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in the Philippines, Modi also assured Trump that India would try to "live up to the expectations" of the US and the world and thanked the US President for speaking "highly" about India during his trips.
The meeting came a day after officials of India, the US, Japan and Australia held their talks to give shape to the much talked about quadrilateral alliance to keep the strategically crucial Indo-Pacific region free, open and inclusive.
"The cooperation between India and US can rise beyond bilateral cooperation and both countries can work for the future of Asia and the world...We are moving ahead together on many issues," Modi said.
The US has been pitching for greater Indo-US cooperation in the strategically critical Indo-Pacific region where China has been ramping up its military presence.
"Wherever President Trump has gone, and wherever he got an opportunity to talk about India, he spoke very highly about India. He expressed optimism about India, and I am assuring that the expectation the world has, the expectation the US has, India has been trying to live up to that expectation and will continue to do it," said Modi.
Trump on his part described Modi as a friend.
"It's great to have Prime Minister Modi here. We've had him at the White House, and he's become a friend of ours and a great gentleman doing a fantastic job in bringing around lots of factions in India -- bringing them all together," Trump said according to the transcript released by the White House.
"It's a lot of good reports coming out of India. So I want to congratulate you," he told Modi.
The two leaders are understood to have discussed the security scenario in the region besides several other issues of mutual interests including ways to further boost bilateral trade.
The move to set up the quadrilateral alliance comes in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. The US has been favouring a more significant role for India in the strategically critical Indo-Pacific region.
The use of the term "Indo-Pacific" by President Trump has led to speculation that it may have something to do with Washington preparing the ground for a revival of the so-called Quadrilateral strategic alliance between US, Japan, Australia and India to counter China's rise.
Trump on Friday praised India's "astounding" growth after it opened up its economy and also lauded Modi, saying he has been working successfully to bring the vast country and its people together.