Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US this week will focus on enhancing Indo-US security and diplomatic cooperation and offers a chance to reflect on how much the strategic partnership has grown during eight years of Obama administration, the State Department has said.
“We look forward to Prime Minister Modi’s visit next week, which will include both a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President (Barack) Obama and a lunch at the White House,” a State Department spokesman told PTI.
Since 2014, there have been six meetings and countless phone calls between Obama and Modi, and this visit “reflects the significance that the two leaders place on the natural alliance between the two largest democratic countries of the world”, the spokesperson said.
According to the official, the discussions will focus on advancing the ambitious climate change and clean energy agenda, further enhancing security and diplomatic cooperation across the Indo-Pacific region, as well as supporting sustainable economic growth and prosperity in both the countries.
“Modi’s visit to Washington offers a chance to reflect on how much the strategic partnership between the US and India has grown over the course of this Administration – following through on President Obama’s goal to establish a ‘defining relationship for the 21st Century’ that will directly benefit our almost 1.6 billion citizens and increase cooperation to sustain and strengthen the global rules-based order both countries care deeply about,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Ayres, who served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia from 2010 to 2013, said: “This visit appears designed to lock in further progress in important areas of US-India cooperation -- defence, climate/clean energy, homeland security, potentially cyber -- as a way to keep momentum going through the transition into a new US administration.”
Currently a Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, Ayres hopes that Obama could endorse India’s candidacy in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping as a means of signalling that the US wants to support India’s economic growth and seeks a collaborative way to do so.
“I would anticipate seeing in particular the much-heralded logistics exchange agreement at last announced as a signal that strategic ties will slowly and purposefully continue to grow.
“As for status of the relationship, this visit reinforces the onward and upward progress that has continued across three US and three Indian administrations, and looks poised to do so in the years ahead,” Ayres said.