The two leaders had a bilateral meeting in Manila on Monday during which they discussed a range of key issues.
New Delhi/Manila: The relationship between India and the United States goes beyond mutual interest and can be beneficial for Asia and humanity at large, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday to US President Donald Trump, who described him as a “friend” who is “doing a great job”.
The two leaders had a bilateral meeting in Manila on Monday — described by foreign secretary S Jaishankar as a “cordial, constructive and comfortable talk between the two” —during which they discussed a range of key issues, including defence and security, the threats posed by terrorism to the region, trade ties and market access as well as a “broad review of the strategic landscape in Asia”.
Lavishing further praise, the Trump said Modi was doing “a fantastic job by bringing lots of factions in India together...”
Modi also assured Trump that India will try to “live up to the expectations” of the US and the world and thanked him for speaking “highly” about India during his trips.
The comments came ahead of their bilateral talks and reflect the growing convergence of the two nations on strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region.
Modi later told the ASEAN (Southeast Asian) leaders that the “task of transforming India is proceeding at an unprecedented scale” and that “we are working day and night towards easy, effective and transparent governance”.
The talks come a day after officials of four countries — India, the US, Japan and Australia — held a meeting amid signs of an emerging “Quadrilateral” that is being seen as a mechanism to check Chinese military and economic assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region, which is now being referred to by Trump as the “Indo-Pacific” region, highlighting the centrality of India’s role in US plans for the region.
In their bilateral talks, the two leaders also discussed world issues such as North Korea, Myanmar, Afghanistan and the situation in West Asia.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s mention of discussions on the “strategic landscape in Asia” indicates that the role of China was also possibly discussed. “The relations between India and the US are growing... and I also feel that the relationship between India and the US is not only for mutual interest. It goes beyond that. We are working together for the interest, for the future of Asia and for humanity as a whole in the world,” Modi said.
“The cooperation between India and US can rise beyond bilateral cooperation and both countries can work for the future of Asia and the world...We are moving ahead together on many issues,” he added.
Modi also thanked Trump for praising India whenever he got an opportunity to speak about the country during his Asia tour.
“In the few days wherever President Trump has travelled and whenever the opportunity arose to talk about India, he has expressed his very high opinion about India," Modi said.
“I would like to assure you whatever the expectations are of the world, of the US from India, India has always made efforts to fulfil those expectations and we will continue to do so in the future too,” he added.
Trump, on his part, described Modi as a friend and a great gentleman.
“PM Narendra Modi is here. We had met at the White House before. He has become a friend of ours. He’s doing a great job. A lot of things were solved and we will continue to work together,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, showcasing the economic reform initiatives of his government, Modi also invited the ASEAN countries to ramp up their investments in India and said the task of transforming the country was proceeding at an “unprecedented scale”.
Addressing the ASEAN Business Forum, the Prime Minister said India’s “Act East” policy puts the 10-member bloc at the Centre of the country’s engagement. He listed all major economic reform measures taken by his government, including rolling out of the GST and new laws and institutions for bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings.
On demonetisation, the Modi said, “We are using our Unique ID system in financial transactions and taxation for this purpose, and the results are already visible. These steps, coupled with demonetisation of high-value notes, has resulted in formalising a large part of our economy.”