New Delhi: India and the US on Tuesday elevated their ties to the level of a “comprehensive global strategic partnership” and announced key pacts in areas ranging from defence to energy.The two also stepped up cooperation in the area of homeland security, with increased efforts to hold supporters of terrorism accountable, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told reporters after talks with Donald Trump The US president arrived in New Delhi on Monday evening after making stops in Ahmedabad and Agra. In Ahmedabad, Modi had joined Trump at the “Namaste Trump” event to address more than 100,000 people at the Motera Stadium.
Trump also pledged to fight terrorism jointly with India but refrained from criticizing Pakistan. On the issue of Kashmir, he offered to help resolve the dispute between India and Pakistan.
Trump and Modi spent five hours in discussions on Monday and Tuesday. The talks were “extremely comprehensive”, and “extremely cordial”, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said. The talks covered security and defence, energy, technology and trade, people-to-people ties and global and regional issues.
At a joint media appearance, Modi described the India-US relationship as the “most important partnership of the 21st century”.
“And therefore, today, President Trump and I have taken a decision to raise our partnership to the level of a comprehensive global strategic partnership. President Trump’s contributions in raising our relations to this level have been invaluable,” Modi said. “We had a productive exchange on every important aspect of our partnership, whether it is defence and security, our strategic energy partnership, technology cooperation, global connectivity, trade relations or people-to-people ties.”
“The increasing defence and security cooperation between India and the US is a very important aspect of our strategic partnership. Cooperation in ultra-modern defence equipment and platforms will enhance India’s defence capabilities,” he added.
Trump, on his part, said India has agreed to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced US military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters—seen as a key takeaway of the visit.
Both countries agreed to scale up trade in crude oil and liquefied natural gas.
On the contentious issue of trade, Modi said India and the US were “committed to openness and fair and balanced trade in the economic sector. Over the last three years, our bilateral trade has witnessed double-digit growth and it has also become more balanced”.
Trump told reporters that he and Modi had spent “a lot of time talking about Pakistan”. Trump said he had a very good relationship with Pakistan. There was no question that Kashmir was a “problem” and India and Pakistan were working on it. “India is a brave nation,” he said, adding that he had told the Indian side he would do whatever he could “because my relations with both of them (Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan) are so good.”