All terror probes lead to single source: PM to Pence in S’pore
New Delhi, November 14
India and the US discussed key issues of counter-terrorism, trade, visas and Indo-Pacific vision on the sidelines of East Asia Summit in Singapore today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US Vice-President Mike Pence, the first meeting since June 2017 when Modi travelled to the White House to meet President Donald Trump. “Critical discussion with India’s Prime Minister @narendramodi while in Singapore. Spoke about our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific & reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen security and counterterrorism cooperation and coordination,” tweeted Pence.
With the 10th anniversary of Mumbai terror strikes less than a fortnight away, terrorism emanating from Pakistan and brazenness of terror masterminds like Hafiz Saeed roaming freely were also discussed.
Modi reminded Pence that “in one way or another all traces or all leads in global terror attacks ultimately leads to a single source, a single place of origin”.
“In that context, he pointed out that the mainstreaming of the people involved in Mumbai terror attacks in a recent election in Pakistan should be a matter of serious concern not just to the two countries i.e. India and the US, but also to the international community,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale later said.
The meeting follows days after India and seven others were granted a temporary exemption from US sanctions that kicked in against oil trade with Iran on November 4.
The sword to drastically reduce crude imports from Tehran still hangs heavy on New Delhi. “We have begun importing oil and gas from the US. It is expected to be valued around $4 billion this year and we expressed our readiness to import more oil and more gas from them as a way of expanding our trade,” Gokhale said.
US concerns on trade that remain a grudge for Trump were also conveyed to the Indian side with Modi assuring that trade deficits would be reduced further.
“Vice-President Pence also encouraged free, fair, and reciprocal trade with India,” said a formal US statement.
Modi and Pence met hours after Trump hosted a Diwali event at the White House with Indian Ambassador Navtej Sarna in attendance and praised the contribution of Indo-Americans. Modi expressed hope that the role of diaspora would be considered by the Trump administration when it “looks at the whole issue of the H1B visa”.
The Modi-Pence meeting also focussed on “free and open” Indo-Pacific goals.