Larger role in the free Indo-Pacific region and deeper cooperation in defence and trade were the major issues that were discussed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the US Vice President Mike Pence in Singapore. At briefing on the sidelines of the East Asia summit, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said that Modi referred to his speech in Singapore in June at the Shangri-La Dialogue in which he had outlined India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific.
“We conveyed to Vice President Pence that his (Modi’s) vision of Indo-Pacific was gaining acceptability and that we should utilise the upcoming East Asia Summit to further build up on that,” Gokhale said.
It has been reported that the US VP felt that India’s contribution in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region would be important and how the two countries can strengthen cooperation in this area to ensure that this is an area of growth, of prosperity, of development and of benefit for the countries of the region in the future.
Both India and the US, along with Japan and Australia, are part of a quad revived in 2017 that seeks to work for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
A 50 % American exports growth under the Trump administration figured in the talks between the two leaders. India is one of the top 10 countries with which the US has a trade deficit where the deficit has actually reduced last year and is on course to further reduce this year and this is important from the perspective of the United States, the foreign secretary has pointed out.
With India starting to import oil and gas from the US, there was a lot of discussion on energy cooperation as well. It is expected to be valued about $4 billion this year and India has already expressed its readiness to import more oil and more gas from the US in an effort to expand bilateral trade.
During his discussions with Pence, Modi stressed that there was a great opportunity for the US to jointly manufacture defence equipment in India and setting up an eco system here which would help in exporting to the region.
According to the foreign secretary, there was appreciation of the outcomes of the recently held Ministerial 2+2 and on the follow up to the 2+2, both on the foreign policy side and on the defence side.
Both countries also talked about 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks and Modi while thanking the US administration in the fight against terrorism. The Prime Minister also appreciated US President Donald Trump’s hosting of a Diwali event at the White House.