India, US pledge to work as partners to combat terror
Washington In continued engagement with the new Trump administration, India and the United States have pledged to work as “partners to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats” and explore areas of “mutual concerns.india Updated: Mar 25, 2017 23:44 IST
Washington In continued engagement with the new Trump administration, India and the United States have pledged to work as “partners to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats” and explore areas of “mutual concerns and commonality” of purpose to build on a relationship that has historically enjoyed bipartisan support.
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval became the second high-ranking Indian official to engage with officials at the highest levels in the new administration, meeting his counterpart in the White House H R McMaster, defense secretary James Mattis and secretary for homeland security John Kelly during his two-day visit to the US that concluded Friday.
The NSA also met senior Republican senators John McCain, who heads the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, and Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Just two weeks ago Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia, were here on a similar whirlwind get-to-know tour. They had met secretary of state Rex Tillersen, NSA McMaster, department of Secretary Kelly, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and President Donald Trump’s top adviser on international economic affairs Kenneth Juster.
These visits followed, and were in continuation with, two phone conversations Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had with President Trump starting with a congratulatory call on the morning after latter’s stunning upset victory in the November 9 elections.
Indian officials have felt generally pleased and encouraged by the interactions. In discussions characterized as “very warm, very positive and very constructive, Doval and his interlocutors covered a wide range of issues, both regional and global.
Both Pakistan and China were discussed, but Indian sources stressed the discussions “very broad”, and they were more in the nature of “listening, conveying your concerns, trying to assess what the new administration was thinking about on various issues”.
Doval and McMaster “committed to work together as partners to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats, affirming that both great democracies stand together in the fight against terrorism,” senior administration official said after their meeting.
This was Doval’s second meeting with the new administration’s NSAs — his first was with Michael Flynn, who left under a cloud of allegations in February about his contacts with Russians.
In the meeting at the Pentagon, Doval and Mattis discussed the importance of the bilateral relationship, and “the role of both nations in cooperating to uphold international laws and principles”, a defense department spokesman Jeff Davis said, adding they also “discussed collaboration on a wide range of regional security matters including maritime security and counter terrorism”.
“Secretary Mattis specifically applauded India’s efforts to promote stability in the South Asia region.”
Counter-terrorism was a major focus of Doval’s discussions with Secretary Kelly, of the Department of Homeland Security, who explained the recent orders by the Trump administration to ramp security on flights — specially the ban on laptops and all electronic devices larger than a cellphone on US bound flights from eight Muslim-majority nations.