India and the United States on Tuesday announced significantly expanded cooperation in defence, trade, infrastructure and, especially, counter-terrorism action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D company, the Haqqani network and al Qaeda.
A “joint and concerted effort” will be made by the two countries to dismantle these outfits, an Indian government official told reporters. But he gave few details and refused to elaborate. Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister to USA
The two sides also agreed to speed up implementation of the civil nuclear deal, announced in 2005, with the help of an interagency platform.
And they agreed on renewing the defence cooperation framework for another 10 years, though it would be signed when they are through with the details.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama met for over two hours in the morning at an expanded delegation-level meeting and then in a more restricted format without aides.
Emphasising that India supports trade facilitation, Modi told Obama that a solution must be found to its concerns over food security at the World Trade Organisation. “We had an open discussion on the WTO issue. We support trade facilitation but a solution that takes care of our food security must be found,” the PM said.
India had taken a tough stand over food security at the WTO talks in Geneva in July, refusing to ratify the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement without any concrete movement in finding a permanent solution to its public food stock-holding issue for food security purposes.
“My conversation with President Obama has reinforced my conviction that India and the US are natural global partners, based on our shared values, interests and strengths in the digital age,” Modi said from prepared remarks in Hindi after the bilateral meeting.
Obama said his discussion with Modi over dinner on Monday night were mostly about the economy, but that they focussed on the international situation and security issues on Tuesday. “We addressed challenges in West Asia and violent extremism, the fight against ISIS,” he said.
But Indian officials said there was no request from the US for India to join the coalition against ISIS, a possibility speculated about in the run-up to the summit.
The two spoke of a “peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan and the need to work together to ensure stability”.
There will be a joint statement on the outcome of the talks but it had not been issued till late Tuesday. A large number of initiatives were agreed upon in the areas of urban development, sanitation and infrastructure.
“This visit can be scored as a success for the very basic reason that it took place,” said Michael Kuglemanm, a South Asia expert at Wilson Center. “Modi could have declined Obama’s invitation to come to Washington, or deferred it indefinitely. Instead, he accepted it and took full advantage of his time in Washington. This is a strong signal of his intention to move beyond the past and to get this relationship back on track.”
After their Oval Office meeting, Obama and Modi travelled together to the Martin Luther King Jr memorial on the National Mall, a few blocks from the White House. Modi was initially to go alone to pay homage to the activist leader but in a last minute change, the American President decided to join him.
Read:Ahead of talks Modi, Obama say 'Chalein saath saath'
Leaders alike: 10 similarities between Obama and Modi