By Arul Louis
New York, Feb 22 (IANS) “The US wants an India that is strong, with a capable military that supports peace, stability, and a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region,” a senior American official previewing President Donald Trump’s visit to India has said.
The two-day visit from February 24 demonstrates the strong and established ties between India and the US based on shared democratic values and strategic interests, said the official who briefed reporters in a teleconference.
The bonds between the two democracies have “been exemplified by the very close relationship between the president and Prime Minister (Narndra) Modi”, the official said.
The official emphasised cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region where both have deep strategic interests.
“India is a pillar of our Indo-Pacific strategy, and we continue to work together to promote this vision of a free and open international system based on market economics, good governance, freedom of the seas and skies, and respect for sovereignty,” the official said.
Indo-Pacific strategic cooperation is one of the top issues in the agenda for Trump’s quick visit to India packed with colour, crowds, glamour and serious work to boost ties and resolve differences.
Most of the items on the agenda will be crammed into Tuesday (February 25), which Trump will spend in New Delhi.
Here at a glance is the US view of the agenda for Trump’s visit outlined by the official:
Building economic and energy ties with India, the fifth largest economy and growing the Strategic Energy Partnership launched by Trump and Modi in 2017.
Focus on defence and security cooperation to both fight terrorism and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Encourage India to uphold its pluralistic democratic traditions.
Issues relating to minorities particularly the religious freedom issue, which is extremely important to this administration.
India providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors.
India’s protectionism exemplified by ‘Make in India’ and issues in e-commerce and digital commerce.
Announce significant commercial deals in a number of key sectors.
Encourage bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan, while recognizing that Pakistan will have to crackdown on terrorists in its territory.
Ask India as “an important country in the region, important to the overall stability of the region” to support the peace process in Afghanistan.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)