PM Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump upgrade partnership
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on Tuesday asked Pakistan to ensure that no territory under its control is used to launch terrorist attacks, calling for perpetrators of Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to be brought to justice and “concerted action” against terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Following wide-ranging talks between Modi and Trump, India and the US announced defence deals for 30 military helicopters worth more than $3 billion and decided to upgrade their ties to the status of a comprehensive global strategic partnership before the US President wrapped up a whirlwind, stand-alone visit to India that lasted less than 36 hours.
The two leaders also agreed to form a working group to combat narco-terrorism and organised crime.
A joint statement released on Tuesday night said: “Prime Minister Modi and President Trump denounced any use of terrorist proxies and strongly condemned cross-border terrorism in all its forms. They called on Pakistan to ensure that no territory under its control is used to launch terrorist attacks, and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot. They called for concerted action against all terrorist groups including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network, TTP, D-Company, and all their affiliates.”
The two leaders held talks at Hyderabad House during the second leg of Trump’s two-day visit, after they jointly addressed the “Namaste Trump” rally in Ahmedabad on Monday, and spoke of their vision for taking forward ties in areas ranging from trade to defence and security.
Making a statement to the media alongside Modi, Trump said the two sides had expanded defence cooperation with agreements to sell India Apache and MH-60R helicopters worth more than $3 billion. “These deals will enhance our joint defence capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side by side,” he said.
Modi described the bilateral relationship as the “most important partnership of the 21st century” and said: “Therefore, today, President Trump and I made a decision to raise our partnership to the level of a comprehensive global strategic partnership.” Until now, it has been described as a strategic partnership.
In recent years, India has acquired military equipment worth more than $18 billion from the US.
Trump said he and Modi were “revitalising the Quad initiative” comprising the US, India, Australia and Japan, which recently held their first ministerial meeting. The two sides also expanded cooperation in counter-terrorism and cyber and maritime security to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, he said.
Modi described the growing security cooperation as a very important part of the partnership and said Indian and US defence manufacturers were becoming part of each other’s supply chains, while Indian forces are conducting maximum exercises with their American counterparts.
“In the last few years, there has been an unprecedented increase in inter-operability between our armies. In the same way, we are increasing cooperation in homeland security and fighting international crime,” Modi said, adding, “Today, we have also agreed on a new mechanism to fight serious problems such as drug trafficking, narco-terrorism, and organised crime.”
Modi said the two sides had also decided to “increase our efforts to hold the supporters of terrorism responsible”, while Trump spoke about the joint commitment to protecting the citizens of the two countries from “radical Islamic terrorism”.
Without giving details, Trump added: “In this effort, the US is also working productively with Pakistan to confront terrorists who operate on its soil.”
Trump reaffirmed the support of the US for India’s permanent membership on a reformed UN Security Council and for India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group without any delay.
The two countries concluded three agreements – a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the safety of medical products signed by India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration, a letter of cooperation between Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and ExxonMobil and Chart Industries to improve India’s natural gas distribution network, and an MoU on mental health between the health and family welfare department and the US health department.
Trump noted that since he assumed office, American exports to India had grown nearly 60% while energy exports had increased by 500%. The agreement between IOC and ExxonMobil will help the US export more liquified natural gas (LNG) to India, he said.
Without referring to China’s Huawei Technologies, which has been allowed to participate in India’s 5G trials, Trump said he had discussed the “importance of a secure 5G wireless network and the need to ensure the emerging technology doesn’t become a conduit for suppression and censorship”.
Trump also pitched the Blue Dot Network, on which the US is working with partners such as Australia and Japan, to ensure countries around the world have access to private sector-led sustainable and trustworthy options for high quality infrastructure built in a transparent and accountable manner.
Salil Gupte, president of Boeing India, welcomed India’s decision to acquire six AH-64 Apache helicopters for the Indian Army. “We congratulate the US and Indian governments on this key milestone and welcome the positive momentum in the bilateral defence trade and industrial partnership,” he said.