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English Translation of Press Statement by External Affairs Minister during visit of US Secretary of State to India (October 25, 2017)

October 25, 2017

Mr. Secretary Tillerson,

Friends from the media;


As Secretary of State this is the first visit of Secretary Tillerson to India. I welcome him very much on behalf of the Government and the people of India and on my own behalf.

Friends, this has been a very intensive tour for Secretary Tillerson. After Saudi Arab, Qatar, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan he has now reached India, meaning six countries in five days. But it is a matter of great delight that in the end he has reached a country which is a very close friend and it is said that visiting a friendly country melts all the fatigue away. I think that Secretary Tillerson will also be feeling like this and he would not be tired now instead he will return from here with new energy.

Friends, this is our second meeting within the last one month. I had met Secretary Tillerson in New York last month on the sidelines of UNGA.

India attaches high priority to its strategic partnership with the US. As Prime Minister Modi has said, we consider the US as an indispensable partner in every sector of India’s progress.

Secretary Tillerson, we appreciate the very clear vision that you have presented of the India-US global partnership in your speech in Washington last week. I would like to tell you that we fully share your strong desire to strengthen this relationship between the two largest democracies of the world.

Friends, I am happy to tell you that there has been considerable progress in the implementation of the decisions taken during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US. Our defence engagements have intensified; we are consulting closely on security and counter-terrorism issues; and commencement of US crude oil purchase by India has added a new dimension to our energy partnership.

I wish to express my appreciation to Secretary Tillerson for his personal efforts in this regard.

Friends, in our discussions today, we have again identified the next steps to carry forward our cooperation.

We discussed in detail the issue of terrorism, which has emerged as the foremost security challenge for the entire world. We discussed the ways for effective implementation of the new strategy of President Trump on Afghanistan and South Asia so that the strategy achieves its desired goals.

We shared grave concern at the recent escalation of terrorist violence in Afghanistan. These attacks demonstrate that safe havens and support systems continue to be available to the terrorists.

Secretary Tillerson and I agreed that we will have to work closely to ensure that no country provides safe havens for terrorists; and those countries which provide support to terrorists or use terrorism are held accountable.

We agreed that Pakistan should take immediate steps to dismantle safe havens which have been established there for terrorist groups. We believe that effective action by Pakistan against all terrorist groups without distinction is critical to the success of the new Strategy of President Trump.

India is committed to working closely with the Government of Afghanistan and the international community, including the US, towards securing a democratic, peaceful, prosperous, stable, inclusive and secure Afghanistan. We have also agreed to hold India-US-Afghanistan trilateral meeting at an early date.

We have also decided to hold the inaugural meeting of new bilateral mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations in India in December.

We also discussed the security challenges in the Indo-Pacific Region, and connectivity issues. During Prime Minister’s visit, both our countries had agreed on a set of principles that should guide connectivity initiatives in this region, particularly the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We also reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation, over-flight and unimpeded commerce in accordance with international laws in order to achieve a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

Secretary Tillerson and I agreed that we will work together and with other partners to promote cooperation based on these principles.

We have also agreed to hold the inaugural meeting of 2+2 Dialogue Mechanism at an early date. We also agreed to encourage industrial partnerships between our defence companies.

We believe that further liberalization of the legal framework and full implementation of the bilateral understanding on India’s Major Defence Partner status will facilitate co-production and co-development.

We appreciate the intent that US Administration has shown under President Trump to make available to India advance defence platforms. We look forward and hope to make further progress in this area.

Friends, we also deliberated on our vibrant economic partnership, and agreed to work more closely to unlock the immense potential in our bilateral economic cooperation. The sustained growth of the Indian economy will unleash more opportunities for greater India-US economic engagement. Our Cabinet colleagues will hold in-depth discussion in Washington DC over the next two days.

Friends, people-to-people contacts have played a critical role in the development of India-US relations. This is most evident in our mutually-beneficial digital partnership, driven by our skilled professionals. Secretary Tillerson, has very correctly pointed out that "no two countries encourage innovation better than the US and India”. In this regard, we have also discussed the very significant contribution to the US economy of Indian skilled professionals who travel and work under H1-B and L-1 visa programs. I have also sought Secretary Tillerson’s support for resolution of long-pending issue of Totalization and asked that nothing such should be done by US which adversely affects India’s interests.

Innovation, entrepreneurship and economic cooperation have been important pillars of our relations.

Our economic and innovation partnership will be further strengthened by the Global Entrepreneurship Summit that India and US will co-host next month.

We look forward to welcoming the US delegation, led by Ms. Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President.

Friends, I have thanked Secretary Tillerson for the continued US support to India’s membership of the multilateral export control regimes and today I would again like to thank him from this platform.

Secretary Tillerson’s visit has helped us greatly to move forward on the roadmap set by Prime Minister Modi and President Trump.

I now invite Secretary Tillerson to give his remarks.

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Transcript of Question & Answer Session during Media Interation by External Affairs Minister and US Secretary of State (October 25, 2017)
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