By Lalit K Jha
Washington, May 31 (PTI) The Trump administration has exuded confidence that the US-India strategic relationship, which enjoys bipartisan support, will see a very positive trajectory during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term.
Modi on Thursday took oath of office, heading a 58-member ministry. He led his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) towards a resounding victory, winning 303 seats in the 542-member Lok Sabha.
“This is really a resilient partnership. It enjoys bipartisan support. It has the structures and it has the strategic commitment in place to take advantage of our leaders’ vision. I anticipate a very positive trajectory moving forward,” a senior State Department official said Thursday.
As was evident in the tweets, statements and phone calls from the US President, Vice President and Secretary of State after the Indian elections, the US looks forward to working with Prime Minister Modi and his government in the second term, the official said.
“We do expect that our strategic partnership will continue to flourish under his leadership,” the official added.
Recalling Modi’s 2017 visit to the US, the official said that President Trump and the Indian prime minister enjoy a warm relationship and personal chemistry.
“You saw that when the prime minister was here in June of 2017. That means that the sort of the geopolitical compulsion to this relationship is matched by a personal leadership commitment to advance relations,” the official, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
According to the official, Trump and Modi will meet in Japan on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit next month in Osaka, Japan. A trilateral meeting involving the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been planned, the official said.
The partnership encompasses cooperation on a broad range of economic, defence and security issues and stands on the foundation of extensive people to people ties and shared democratic values, the official said.
“There’s been a significant momentum in the relationship since the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington with the 2+2 mechanism that was developed last year. The meetings between our ministers of foreign affairs and defense will continue to serve as a strategic vehicle for our engagement with India,” the official said.
“It capped off last year with a signing of a secure communications agreement that was 10 years in the negotiations and represented a breakthrough and our ability to achieve military inter-operability.
“We are looking forward again to early high-level contact with the Modi 2.0 government. We will have the G-20 meeting opportunity between our heads of state, the official said.
There will be a senior level participation at US-India Forum in New Delhi in August. There will be a 2+2 intercessional and a maritime security dialogue in August and a 2+2 ministerial in early fall.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be speaking at the June 12 US-India Business Council’s India Ideas summit in Washington.
According to the official, the mechanisms for this engagement reflect what are now very developed habits of cooperation between the two countries that are allowing them to push the agenda much more rapidly in the past.
Much of the expansion in this relationship has been a result of the Indo Pacific strategy and this common vision that the two countries share secures a rules-based free and open Indo-Pacific region, the official said.
The two countries, the official said also share complimentary visions based on democratic norms and rule of law.
“We also share concerns. Concerns about predatory lending, lending and norm-defying practices that have been seen in the region. That’s why you’ve seen the US and Indian Navy’s alongside those of Japan and the Philippines conduct a group sail for the first time ever in the South China Sea this month,” the official said.
“We’re also looking forward to our first ever tri-service military exercise involving the US and India Navy Air Force and army at the end of this year to further increase inter-operability. And you’ll continue to see forward movement on defense enabling agreements that will further deepen our information sharing and inter-operability,” the official said.