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Trump has elevated ties with India in ways not seen under any other US prez: White House official

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President Donald Trump has “elevated and solidified” America’s growing and critical partnership with India in ways not seen in any previous US administrations, according to a senior White House official.

President Trump has prioritized US-India relationship and worked to expand all facets of the partnership over the last three-and-a-half years, the senior administration official from the National Security Council of the White House told PTI on Monday.

“Given the two countries’ democratic foundations and their mutual interests in rebuilding the global economy following COVID-19, diversifying global supply chains, and ensuring the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open, President Trump will continue to build this critical partnership in the years to come,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The Trump Administration has elevated the US relationship with India and solidified our growing partnership in ways not seen in any other US administration,” the official said, noting that the president has enabled India to become the first non-treaty ally to be offered an armed MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial System.

During President Trump’s historic visit to India February 24-26, he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi elevated the relationship to a Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. Prime Minister Modi was also one of the first foreign leaders to visit the White House after President Trump took office on June 26, 2017, the senior official said.

The two leaders have also spoken side-by-side at two major events “Howdy, Modi!” in September 2019 in Houston, Texas, before a crowd of over 55,000 and again at “Namaste, Trump” in February 2020 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to address a crowd of 110,000 people, the official noted.

“These gatherings boosted our people-to-people ties and highlighted the warm personal relationship between the two leaders,” the official said.

Trump’s Indo-Pacific strategy prioritises closer cooperation between the United States and India to secure a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, the official said.

“We have boosted quadrilateral consultations among the United States, India, Australia and Japan, with the four foreign ministers meeting for the first time in September 2019,” the official said.

“President Trump has strengthened all aspects of US-India security and defence cooperation to build a comprehensive, enduring, and mutually beneficial defence partnership,” the official said.

Under the Trump Administration, the United States has become the second-largest arms supplier to India, growing from virtually no arms sales a decade ago to more than USD 20 billion today, the official said, adding that earlier this year, the US and India concluded USD 3 billion in defence sales, including MH-60R naval helicopters and additional AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.

To bolster India’s role as a net provider of security in the Indo-Pacific, the Trump administration has lifted restrictions on the provision of sensitive defence technology, enabling India to become the first non-treaty ally offered an armed MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial System, the official said.

As global leaders with vibrant democracies, the United States and India have cooperated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. US and Indian pharmaceutical companies have collaborated to expand global supplies of critical medicines and are cooperating on vaccine development, the official added.

In a separate statement, Al Mason, co-chair for the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee, said Trump has elevated India’s stature on the world stage, and asserted that credit also goes to Prime Minister Modi.

“Of course, due credit also goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his skilled policy towards the US.

“The India-US relationship has been rock solid. Kudos to the brilliance of both Trump and Modi for cementing the bond between India and US,” Mason told PTI.

His remarks came ahead of the November 3 presidential election where Trump, a Republican will face former vice president Joe Biden.

Biden, the Democratic Party’s candidate last week picked Indian-American Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, a move that could woo the influential Indian diaspora in America. President Trump’s running mate will be Vice President Mike Pence.


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