New Delhi: Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to her US counterpart, secretary of state Rex Tillerson, on Wednesday during which they resolved to further expand and deepen the strategic partnership between India and the US.
This is the third high level conversation between the Indian government and the Trump administration since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the US on 20 January. It was not immediately clear who initiated Wednesday’s call and how long it lasted.
Before this call, Trump spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US defence secretary James Mattis spoke to Indian defence minister Manohar Parikkar.
An Indian foreign ministry statement said that Swaraj and Tillerson “resolved to work together closely to further expand and deepen the multi-faceted strategic partnership between India and the US.”
“ They emphasized that close and strong relations between India and the US were not only in mutual interest but also had regional and global significance. In this context, they agreed to intensify cooperation in various sectors, including defence and security, energy, and economy,” the Indian readout of the conversation said. “They also agreed to follow-up the firm resolve expressed by Prime Minister Modi and President Trump to cooperate closely in the global fight against terrorism,” it added.
Ties between India and the US have warmed dramatically since the year 2000 with four presidential visits between then and 2015.
The US has surpassed Russia in defence and military sales to India—inconceivable during the days of the Cold War when the world’s largest and oldest democracies were seen ranged on opposite sides.
Former US president Barack. Obama visited India twice once in 2010 in his first term in office. He also visited India in 2015 as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day.
Ties with the US are seen as one of the most important against the backdrop of India seeking investments and technology to leapfrog into the league of developed countries.
However Trump’s “America First”, “buy American and hire American” policies and comments have unnerved sections in India given that they seem detrimental to Indian interests. US attorney general Jeff Sessions comments during his senate confirmation hearings calling for a cut in visas taken by Indian software professionals is one case in point.