US Vice President Kamala Harris, in her first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, brought up Pakistan’s role in terrorism and asked Islamabad to take action so it does not impact America and India’s security.
According to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Kamala Harris agreed that India had been a victim of terrorism for several decades and that there was “a need to rein in, and closely monitor, Pakistan’s support for such terrorist groups”.
The Prime Minister had an hour-long meeting Thursday at the White House with Kamala Harris, who has Indian roots. The discussions focused on cementing the Indo-US strategic partnership and global issues of common interest, including threats to democracy, Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.
“When the issue of terrorism came up, the Vice President suo motu referred to Pakistan’s role in that regard (of terrorism),” the Foreign Secretary told reporters when asked if Pakistan’s role in terrorism came up.
According to Mr Shringla, Ms Harris agreed that there were terror groups operating in Pakistan.
“She asked Pakistan to take action so that this will not impact on US security and that of India. She agreed with the Prime Minister’s briefing on the fact of cross border terrorism, and the fact that India has been a victim of terrorism for several decades now and on the need to rein in, and closely monitor Pakistan’s support for such terrorist groups,” Mr Shringla said.
Ms Harris also said it is incumbent on the two nations to defend democratic principles and institutions within their countries and around the world.
“As democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world. And that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home and it is incumbent on our nations to of course protect democracies in the best interests of people of our countries,” she said.
PM Modi and Ms Harris had earlier spoken on the phone in June, when India was battling a massive surge in Covid.
The Prime Minister, recalling their interaction, described Ms Harris as an “inspiration for many across the world”, a “true friend” and someone who spoke “like family” and said he would always remember it.
“One of our interactions happened when India was battling a very tough wave of COVID-19 infections. I recall your kind words of solidarity that time,” PM Modi said.
“Like a family, the sense of kinship and so warmly, you extended a helping hand, the words that you chose when you spoke to me, I will always remember that, and I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Like a true friend, you had given a message of cooperation, and were very full of sensitivity and immediately after that we found that the US government, the US corporate sector and the Indian community, all came together to help India.”
The Prime Minister also said “India and America are natural partners” with similar values, similar geopolitical interests.
“The oldest democracy and the largest democracy…we are indeed natural partners, we have similar values,” he said.
The Vice President also referred to the need for “free and open Indo-Pacific region” at a time the US is trying to strengthen ties with allies to counter China’s aggressive moves in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
The two leaders wore masks as they both spoke in front of reporters from both India and the US.
The Prime Minister invited the 56-year-old Democratic leader and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff to visit India.