World Economy

Modi, Obama Vow to Take Ties to New Levels

Modi, Obama Vow to  Take Ties to New LevelsModi, Obama Vow to  Take Ties to New Levels

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama sought to reset ties between India and the United States as both leaders had an extended discussion in the White House on Tuesday, resolving to broaden their cooperation in various fields including defense, intelligence, counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, space exploration and science and push the bilateral relationship to “new levels”.

There was “great convergence” between the two sides on peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, Modi said in comments made shortly after the talks ended. He said the US was an integral part of India’s Look East, Link West policy, the Economic Times reported Wednesday.

“It is natural for India and US to have a strategic relationship,” Modi said. “We already have the foundation for a strong partnership and now we have to revive momentum between the two countries.”

The two leaders also discussed thornier issues, with Modi saying that he had made the point that India supports trade facilitation at the WTO, but expects the country’s concerns on food security to be addressed. He also pushed for easier access to the US market for Indian service companies.

India wants to resolve hurdles in the way of the civil nuclear agreement as this was important for the country’s energy security, Modi said.

President Obama said there was much common ground between the two nations and that they had agreed to cooperate on tackling issues such as the Ebola outbreak, for which India has pledged $12 million.

“We discussed international situation, security issues and Middle East violence and extremism,” Obama said. “We discussed trade and how we can work with each other and decided to deepen our existing ties with India.”

Modi said he was inspired by the extraordinary interest in India in the US and said that “we will draw strength and inspiration from this.” He also invited US defense companies to come to India as part of his bid to boost investment.

“The president and I spoke about many of the reforms we are undertaking and the focus on making it easy to do business in India,” Modi said. “I expect business and economic ties between the two countries would grow at a great pace.”

Earlier, the two leaders said it was time “to set a new agenda, one that realizes concrete benefits for our citizens” in a jointly signed piece in the Washington Post that was published Tuesday morning.

“This will be an agenda that enables us to find mutually rewarding ways to expand our collaboration in trade, investment and technology that harmonize with India’s ambitious development agenda, while sustaining the United States as the global engine of growth,” they wrote. “As global partners, we are committed to enhancing our homeland security by sharing intelligence, through counterterrorism and law-enforcement cooperation, while we jointly work to maintain freedom of navigation and lawful commerce across the seas.”