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Indo-US strategic partnership aims to destroy 'terror havens'

June 27, 2017 07:10 AM
Prime Minister Narendera Modi with media magnates of US

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendera Modi and US President Donald Trump both said on Tuesday that "destroying radical Islamic terrorism together" and "ending Terrorist safe heavens” is one of the main goals of their countries' strategic partnership.


"During my campaign I pledged if elected India will have true friend in White House and that's now exactly what you have - a true friend," he said Trump, meanwhile, sought to correct any notion that India is on the policy backburner for the US, as some analysts suggested.

Following talks held by the two leaders and their delegations, both Trump and Modi made individual statements to the media where they discussed their "shared goals". And neither the H-1B visa issue nor the paris climate accord found mention in any of the two leaders' statements.

Trump, in fact, said he and Modi share more than just strategic goals, they also have another common interest- social media. "I'm proud to announce that PM Modi and I are world leaders in social media", Trump said, only half joking.

In addition to combating terrorism and sharing intelligence toward that end, Modi and Trump also talked about expanding trade, defence and economic ties "so that both countries" can reap the benefits of growth and job creation and become even bigger "global engines of growth", as PM Modi described it.

Modi also put paid to any speculation that Trump's doctrine of 'America first' would be at odds with his own big 'Make in India' push. He said these policy goals actually "converge" because a strong India and a strong US are goals that are in the best interest of both countries.
Trump, meanwhile, sought to correct any notion that India is on the policy backburner for the US, as some analysts suggested.

"During my campaign I pledged if elected India will have true friend in White House and that's now exactly what you have - a true friend," he said.

Combating terrorism and improving their security partnership figured a great deal in the statements made by both Modi and Trump.

"Our security partnership is very important for both our countries. Both nations have been struck by the evils of terror. We are determined to destroy radical Islamic terrorism together," said Trump on the White House lawn after the delegation-level talks.

PM Modi took things a step further. He didn't mention Pakistan but made it pretty clear he was referring to it when he said "ending (terror) safe havens" is also a major goal for both India and the US.

"Destroying terrorists and safe havens will be our (joint) aim. Eliminating terrorism is among the top-most priorities for both nations," PM Modi averred.

Both leaders said that trade, commerce and investment were important areas they discussed at their meeting.

Trump has in the past often bluntly criticised the growing US trade deficit with India, China and a few other countries. He alluded to the trade deficit again today and talked of a "fair" relationship, but still tread lightly compared with his earlier strident statements, at least in public.

"I look forward to working with you to create jobs in both countries and to grow our trade relationship in a fair manner to bring down the trade deficit," Trump said.

Trump said that he was "pleased" to hear about "an Indian airline's recent order of 100 new American planes, which will support thousands of American jobs."

He also pointedly said that he's "looking forward to exporting more US energy to India as your economy grows, including a major long term contract to purchase natural gas". He didn't connect energy export directly with the trade deficit, but it was clear he believed that was one way to reduce it.

Modi said that one area they have decided to take forward more pro-actively is maritime cooperation. This would be in line with "America strengthening India's defence capabilities", he said.

"Bilateral defence, technology, trade and manufacturing partnerships will improve so they benefit both countries," Modi said, again underscoring the need for mutually beneficial cooperation. 

The US President in his address made sure to allude to the 'outsider' status that he and Modi share in the political circles in their countries.

He congratulated India on the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. 

"We are also doing that by the way," Trump quipped.

Then he talked about the Modi administration "fighting government corruption" and knowingly added that it was indeed "a grave threat to democracy."

 

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