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US, India relations can rise beyond bilateral ties: Modi to Trump

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
By Manash Pratim Bhuyan

Manila: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today 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 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".

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Secretary (East) in the MEA Preeti Saran were part of the Indian delegation at the meeting.

In the meeting, Trump 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.

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