Millennium Post

Logic of Indo-US strategic ties is incontrovertible: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday the logic of the Indo-US strategic ties is "incontrovertible" and the two countries have an overriding interest in securing the world from terrorism, radical ideologies and non-traditional security threats.

Modi, in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, wrote that the US and India are forging a deeper and stronger partnership that extends far beyond the Beltway and the Raisina Hill.

The Beltway refers to Interstate 495, a circumferential highway that encircles Washington, DC. The Raisina Hill is the seat of the Government of India in New Delhi.

In an uncertain global economic landscape, India and the US stand as mutually reinforcing engines of growth and innovation, he said ahead of his maiden meeting with US President Donald Trump.

He recalled his visit to Washington last June and his address to a joint session of the US Congress, where he said that the relationship between India and America had overcome the "hesitations of history".

"A year later, I return to the US confident in the growing convergence between our two nations," he said.

"This confidence stems from the strength of our shared values and the stability of our systems. Our people and institutions have steadfastly viewed democratic change as an instrument for renewal and resurgence," he said.

Modi said the confidence in each other's political values and a strong belief in each other's prosperity has led to greater engagements between the two countries.

"A new layer in our engagement is our partnership for global good," the prime minister said.

"Whenever India and the US work together, the world reaps the benefits," he said, citing the collaborative efforts in areas like developing affordable vaccines for rotavirus or dengue, establishing norms for cyberspace, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Indo- Pacific region and training peacekeepers in Africa.

"The logic of our strategic relationship is incontrovertible," Modi said while noting that defence was an area of mutually beneficial cooperation.

Both India and the US have an overriding interest in securing the two countries' societies and the world from the forces of terrorism, radical ideologies and non-traditional security threats, he said.

India, which has four decades' experience in fighting terrorism, shares the Trump administration's determination to defeat this scourge, the prime minister said.

"We are already working together to address the existing and emerging strategic and security challenges that affect both our nations -- in Afghanistan, West Asia, the large maritime space of the Indo-Pacific, the new and unanticipated threats in cyberspace.

"We also share an interest in ensuring that sea lanes -- critical lifelines of trade and energy -- remain secure and open to all," Modi said in an apparent reference to China's flexing of its muscles in the South China Sea.

China says nearly the entire South China Sea falls within its territory, with half a dozen other countries like Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam maintaining partially overlapping claims.

China has built a series of artificial islands on reefs and rocks in an attempt to bolster its position, complete with military length airstrips and anti-aircraft weapons.

The strategic South China Sea is rich in energy reserves, fishery resources and is a busy shipping route.

Referring to the bilateral trade, Modi said that the two-way trade, which already totals about USD 115 billion a year, is poised for a multi-fold increase.

wwIndian companies are adding value to the manufacturing and services sectors in the US, with total investments of approximately USD 15 billion and a presence in more than 35 states, including in the Rust Belt of America.

American companies have likewise fuelled their global growth by investing more than USD 20 billion in India, he said in the op-ed.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calls on Modi

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi here today and discussed ways to boost Indo-US strategic ties ahead of the Indian leader's first meeting with President Donald Trump.

Tillerson met Modi at the Hotel Willard Intercontinental, where the Indian prime minister is staying. Earlier, US Defence Secretary James Mattis had also called on Modi.

Ahead of Modi's visit to Washington, Tillerson had said that the trip would strengthen the Indo-US relationship and help advance the common interest in fighting terrorism and promoting economic growth.

Tillerson had said this during a meeting here with visiting Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar last week.

"The Secretary noted the Prime Minister's visit will strengthen ties between the United States and India and advance our common interest in fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and prosperity, and expanding security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region," a State Department spokesperson had said.

The two agreed that the two countries have a deep and growing strategic partnership and hope to work more closely on regional and global issues, the official had said.

Ahead of his visit, Modi had said he looked forward to the opportunity of having an in-depth exchange of views.

"My USA visit is aimed at deepening ties between our nations. Strong India-USA ties benefit our nations & the world," he had tweeted.

"I look forward to this opportunity to have an in-depth exchange of views on further consolidating the robust and wide-ranging partnership between India and the United States," the prime minister had said.

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