Underlining that the US is “undergoing change”, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that these changes are creating “new opportunities for bilateral cooperation”. She said there is “growing convergence” in countering terrorism, and the “clear and unambiguous message” given jointly by PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump needs to be pursued with resolve by the international community.
Addressing an Indo-US forum on Monday, she said, “On its part, the US too, is undergoing a change. Internally, it shifted its economic focus to create more jobs, revive manufacturing, rebuild infrastructure and expand prosperity. On the external front, it is in the process of redefining the terms of its engagement with the rest of the world. Both these processes are creating new opportunities for bilateral cooperation. A strong US is in India’s interest and we believe that a stronger India should equally be a US priority.”
Swaraj said that the visit of Modi in Washington DC last month should be seen in this context and this first meeting between the two leaders confirmed again that the partnership transcends changes in governments and political divides in both countries. “The spontaneous rapport and warmth we witnessed between the two leaders was as much about personal chemistry as it was about growing affinity between the people of the two countries,” she said.
On terrorism, she said, “Another area of growing convergence is the high priority being attached by both sides to countering terrorism… The clear and unambiguous message given jointly by PM Modi and President Trump needs to be pursued with resolve by the international community.” Stressing that an important theatre of cooperation over the last decade and a half between India and US has been Afghanistan, she said it is important that the international community, particularly the US, remain engaged in Afghanistan.
One of the main challenges, she said confronting the world today is the evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific. “Strong India-US partnership is critical for peace, stability and prosperity in this region. Enunciation of common principles to guide our approach in the region during the visit of Prime Minister is, therefore, significant. India and the US stand together in upholding an international rules-based system that has benefited all nations,” she said, in an oblique reference to China.