Modi visit to strengthen Indo-US strategic ties: Congressmen

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US will strengthen and deepen the strategic relationship between the two countries, top American lawmakers, cutting across party lines, have said.

PTI| Updated: Oct 02, 2014, 14:07 PM IST

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US will strengthen and deepen the strategic relationship between the two countries, top American lawmakers, cutting across party lines, have said.

"It was an honour to welcome Prime Minister Modi to the Capitol," Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said, a day after he met Modi along with other top lawmakers at Capitol Hill.

"We discussed important issues, including improving counter-terrorism cooperation and steps that can be taken to reduce violence against Indian women. The Prime Minister heard Congressional concerns about fully implementing the civilian nuclear energy agreement so that the US can be a full partner in India's nuclear energy industry," Royce said.

In his meeting with lawmakers, Modi addressed the top House leadership about the US-India relationship.

Demonstrating the importance placed on the US-India relationship, the top leadership of the House returned to Washington for the meeting, despite Congress not being in session.

Modi described economic reforms his government has undertaken, including in the defence, transportation and financial services fields.

Questions posed by lawmakers addressed India's energy dealings with Iran, Iran's nuclear programme, counter- terrorism cooperation, implementation of the civil nuclear cooperation deal, and violence against women, among others.

Congressman George Holding said the US-India bilateral relationship can be one of the defining partnerships of this century.

"There is limitless potential between our two democracies when it comes to economic, defence, and counter-terrorism operations. And with a shifting geopolitical situation in Asia, unwavering cooperation between the US and India is essential to promoting peace and stability," Holding said.

"I look forward to continuing my efforts to advance the US-India relationship, and today's conversation with Prime Minister Modi firmly reinforces my belief that we have a partner ready to seize the opportunity before us," he said.

Congressman J Randy Forbes, Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, said expanding India's role in the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region must be a priority for the administration and Congress.

"Given India's strategic interests, geographic location, and shared values with the US, Washington and New Delhi should be natural strategic partners," he said.

"It is past time to begin the process of expanding areas of mutual cooperation, including realising the full benefits of the civil nuclear agreement, renewing the Defence Framework Agreement, seeking further ways to expand bilateral and multilateral security cooperation, and working to strengthen coordination on counter-terrorism and homeland security issues," he said.