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External Affairs Minister's remarks during Press Interaction with Secretary of State of the United States of America

June 26, 2019

Good afternoon. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome Secretary Pompeo to India as many of you know he is the first Foreign Minister I am hosting after assuming charge as External Affairs Minister, so it is a particular privilege. He also is the first senior figure from the Trump Administration to come after this Government assumed office and as someone who has been associated over many years with the growth of India’s relations with the United States I am particularly pleased to see him today and to welcome him.

India and the United States have a strategic partnership and that is actually based on deep and broad convergences which have been steadily growing over the last many years. Obviously, there will be some issues on which we have our individual perspectives but I think for us today both as countries and as Foreign Ministers harmonising our interest and our views, that is really the task of diplomacy and I think Secretary Pompeo would agree with me today that we have earned our pay.

Now both of us are guided by the big picture of the relationship that vision currently was set out in the many meetings starting with the June 2017 meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump. Obviously, from time to time in any relationship specific issues will arise and I think we have discussed many of those issues largely in the framework of that big picture today our discussions covered trade issues, energy issues, defence issues, investment concerns and people to people contacts between India and the US as Foreign Ministers we both are very conscious of our responsibility to deliver on the vision of our leaders and in doing so, therefore, our discussions took a very integrated view of all the domains which the relationship deals with.

Now in greater specifics I think we discussed a number of bilateral and global issues; on terrorism I took the opportunity to express our appreciation for the strong support that we have received from the Trump Administration. What we see is really zero tolerance for cross-border terrorism. We have of course Prime Minister’s initiative for a global conference on terrorism and I am sure that is something the US would look at positively. We had a discussion on our Defence cooperation that again has been a very encouraging story over the last decade or more. Today we operate a number of American origin platforms and other equipment and the key point here is that if that is to continue to grow it is important that we display trust and confidence in each other.

There has been a steady appreciation, a steady liberalisation of American laws and regulations pertaining to Defence and high technology and that’s something again I would thank Secretary Pompeo and the Administration for. We also discussed energy issues and I underlined the importance of stability, predictability and affordability in terms of India’s energy input. Again you all know that we have started sourcing some of our energy from the United States in recent years. On trade and investments the US is today our largest trade partner.

It is among our key investment sources as well and what has been clear in the last few years is that as both economies have grown strongly, new opportunities have been created by new demands and we are both very optimistic about where our economic relationship is going and can go. On some outstanding issues particularly relating to trade my urging was that we take constructive and pragmatic view of that it is natural when you have trade that there will be trade issues and I think the real test of our intentions is our ability to address them affectively.

Where the Government of India is concerned, we are committed to making it easier to do business, to provide a level playing field and to grow with the world economy and striking the right balance between these concerns is what we are trying to do. We spent a little time discussing people to people relations. It is the natural constituency of our ties. I think today PIOs, non-resident, students, professionals, business, technology academics they all contribute to what makes our ties with the United States unique.

I think Secretary Pompeo in his own previous careers is very conversant with that so I am confident that there would be greater understanding of this particular factor in our ties. On global issues we discussed Afghanistan; Secretary Pompeo came in directly from Kabul so he briefed me about some of the discussions he had there. In turn I spoke of our concerns and interest there. We also had a discussion, a fairly detailed discussion of the situation in the Gulf.

I think he knows that we have big stakes there; stakes of energy, of diaspora, of trade, of regional stability. We had also a talk over lunch on the Indo-pacific; the big point I made was that the Indo-pacific is for something - not against somebody, and that something is peace, security, stability, prosperity and rules. So we are really looking at a landscape where a number of independent players today work together for what they believe to be global good so this from my perspective is broadly a sort of summary of what we have spent the last few hours on. Secretary Pompeo met the Prime Minister in the morning and also the National Security Advisor.

We then from here independently journey to Japan so I guess we are going to see each other there, so I again welcome him. I look forward to having a really close working relationship with him and I am very very confident that together we can really take the relationship between our two countries to a different level and may I Secretary invite you to make your remarks.

New Delhi
June 26, 2019

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