LOOK­ING BE­YOND BI­LAT­ERAL TIES

Business Standard - - FRONT PAGE - PRESS TRUST OF IN­DIA

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi at a bi­lat­eral meet­ing with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on the side­lines of the ASEAN Sum­mit in Manila, Philip­pines, on Mon­day. Dur­ing the meet­ing, Modi told Trump that both na­tions could rise be­yond bi­lat­eral ties and work jointly for the fu­ture of Asia, re­flect­ing their grow­ing con­ver­gence on strate­gic is­sues in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion. He also as­sured the US Pres­i­dent that In­dia would try to “live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions” of the US and the world and thanked him for speak­ing “highly” about In­dia dur­ing his trips. Be­sides, Modi has in­vited the ASEAN coun­tries to ramp up their in­vest­ments in In­dia and said the task of trans­form­ing the coun­try was pro­ceed­ing at an “un­prece­dented scale”

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Mon­day told US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump that both coun­tries can rise be­yond bi­lat­eral ties and work jointly for the fu­ture of Asia, re­flect­ing their grow­ing con­ver­gence on strate­gic is­sues in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion.

Dur­ing their wide-rang­ing talks, which took place on the side­lines of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (Asean) sum­mit in the Philip­pines, Modi as­sured Trump that In­dia will try to “live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions” of the US and the world and also thanked the US Pres­i­dent for speak­ing “highly” about In­dia dur­ing his trips.

The meet­ing came a day af­ter of­fi­cials of In­dia, the US, Ja­pan and Aus­tralia held their talks to give shape to the much talked about quadri­lat­eral al­liance to keep the strate­gi­cally im­por­tant Indo-Pa­cific re­gion free, open and in­clu­sive.

“The co­op­er­a­tion be­tween In­dia and US can rise be­yond bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion and both coun­tries can work for the fu­ture of Asia and the world... We are mov­ing ahead to­gether on many is­sues,” Modi told Trump in his open­ing re­marks.

The US has been pitch­ing for greater Indo-US co­op­er­a­tion in the strate­gi­cally key Indo-Pa­cific re­gion where China has been ramp­ing up its mil­i­tary pres­ence.

“Wher­ever Pres­i­dent Trump has gone and wher­ever he got an op­por­tu­nity to talk about In­dia, he spoke very highly about In­dia. He ex­pressed op­ti­mism about In­dia and I am as­sur­ing that the ex­pec­ta­tion the world has, the ex­pec­ta­tion the US has, In­dia has been try­ing to live up to that ex­pec­ta­tion and will con­tinue to do it,” said Modi. Af­ter the 45-minute meet­ing at the Sof­i­tel ho­tel where Trump is stay­ing, Modi tweeted “Held pro­duc­tive talks with @POTUS on fur­ther strength­en­ing In­dia-USA re­la­tions. @re­al­Don­aldTrump”.

Brief­ing re­porters later, For­eign Sec­re­tary S Jais­hankar de­scribed the meet­ing as “co­or­dial, con­struc­tive and very com­fort­able” con­ver­sa­tion on bi­lat­eral, re­gional and global is­sues. He said the meet­ing was mainly fo­cused on eco­nomic is­sues in­clud­ing trade and in­vest­ment.

The two sides dis­cussed how to grow the eco­nomic ties and im­prove mar­ket ac­cess to each other. He said the two lead­ers also dis­cussed mat­ters re­lat­ing to de­fence co­op­er­a­tion, counter-ter­ror­ism, pro­lif­er­a­tion, the Korean cri­sis and sit­u­a­tion in the West Asia, and the Gulf.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi at the In­ter­na­tional Rice Re­search In­sti­tute, in the Philip­pines, on Mon­day

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