US and In­dia can rise be­yond bi­lat­eral ties: Modi to Trump

The Hitavada - - FRONT PAGE - ■ By Manash Pratim Bhuyan

PRIME Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Mon­day held wide-rang­ing talks with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and told him that both na­tions 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.

In the meet­ing which took place on the side­lines of the ASEAN sum­mit in the Philip­pines, Modi also as­sured Trump that In­dia will try to “live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions” of the US and the world and 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 said. The US has been pitch­ing for greater In­doUS 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.

Trump on his part de­scribed Modi as a friend.

“It’s great to have Prime Min­is­ter Modi here. We’ve had him at the White House, and he’s be­come a friend of ours and a great gen­tle­man do­ing a fan­tas­tic job in bring­ing around lots of fac­tions in In­dia -- bring­ing them all to­gether,” Trump said ac­cord­ing to the tran­script re­leased by the White House.

“It’s a lot of good re­ports com­ing out of In­dia. So I want to con­grat­u­late you,” he told Modi.

The two lead­ers are un­der­stood to have dis­cussed the se­cu­rity sce­nario in the re­gion be­sides sev­eral other is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­ests in­clud­ing ways to fur­ther boost bi­lat­eral trade.

The move to set up the quadri­lat­eral al­liance comes in the back­drop of grow­ing Chi­nese as­sertive­ness in the South China Sea. The US has been favour­ing a larger role for In­dia in the strate­gi­cally key Indo-Pa­cific re­gion. The use of the term “Indo-Pa­cific” by Pres­i­dent Trump has led to spec­u­la­tion that it may have some­thing to do with Wash­ing­ton pre­par­ing the ground for a re­vival of the so called Quadri­lat­eral strate­gic al­liance be­tween US, Ja­pan, Aus­tralia and In­dia to counter China’s rise.

Trump on Fri­day praised In­dia’s “as­tound­ing” growth af­ter it opened up its econ­omy and also lauded Modi, say­ing he has been work­ing suc­cess­fully to bring the vast coun­try and its peo­ple to­gether. Speak­ing at a gath­er­ing of CEOs on the side­lines of the an­nual Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) sum­mit in the Viet­namese city of Danang, Pres­i­dent Trump cited In­dia as one of the coun­tries in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion mak­ing strides.

(AP/PTI)

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi shake hands dur­ing a bi­lat­eral meet­ing at the ASEAN Sum­mit at the Sof­i­tel Philip­pine Plaza, on Mon­day, in Manila, Philip­pines.

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