The US on Wednesday backed India’s emergence as a “leading power” and promised to provide the “best technology” for its military modernisation.
“US backs India’s emergence as a leading power and will continue to help Indian capabilities in providing security for the region. We are ready to provide the best technology for India’s military modernisation,” said US secretary of state Rex Tillerson in a joint statement with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Tillerson added that he was “looking forward to discussing deals for F16 and F18 fighter jets with India.”
Both countries also decisively condemned terrorism and those who provide “safe havens” to terrorists.
“The US and India agree that Pakistan must work to immediately get rid of terror safe havens operating there,” said Swaraj.
Tillerson, who is in India as part of his five-nation visit, echoed Swaraj’s views and said that “terror safe havens will not be tolerated.”
Highlighting the strengthening relationship between the two countries, the top American diplomat said that “India and USA are natural allies, we stand shoulder to shoulder against terror.”
Tillerson, who visited Islamabad before New Delhi, warned that if terror groups continue to proliferate in Pakistan, they could threaten the very stability of its government.
“Too many terror groups find safe haven in Pakistan, and these are now threatening the stability of the country’s government. We want to work with Pakistan in a positive way as we think this is in their interest in the longer term,” he said.
India added that for US President Donald Trump’s new South Asia policy to succeed, Pakistan would have to act against all terrorists, without exception.
Tillerson reiterated that India is “crucial” to the US’s Afghanistan strategy.
The joint statement covered a range of other issues including economic cooperation and trade, H-1B visas and North Korea.