Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US provided an “important opportunity” to assess how the Indo-US partnership can help address global challenges and unleash opportunity in the economic and trade space, a top Obama administration official said.
“There was a tremendous amount of support and goodwill and his words resonated in many many different audiences around town,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal told PTI on the sidelines of an event here yesterday.
Following Modi’s visit to Washington from June 6-8, Biswal had described the vision laid out by the Indian leader during his address to the US Congress as the ‘Modi Doctrine’.
Biswal, in the city to speak at the launch of the Sri Lanka Policy Forum, said Modi doctrine was “a way of framing what I thought was an important vision” that the Prime Minister put forward in his speech to the US Congress.
“It’s a recognition that both President (Barack) Obama and Prime Minister Modi said that we are each other’s best partners in an important defining relationship, not only because of what we can do for our own peoples through our partnership but because of the way we can really advance global concerns, address challenges and create betterment around the world.”
She said Modi’s visit was an “important opportunity” to talk about that kind of partnership and to best look at the “challenges that we see”, including the challenges across the Indo-Pacific, climate change and “how we can move together to address them as well as unleash opportunity on the economic and trade space and in many other endeavors between our two countries.”
Earlier speaking during the session hosted by The Program on Peace-building and Human Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Association of War Affected Women, Biswal said Sri Lanka is making progress but a lot more still needs to be done.
She cited the progress made in establishing the office of missing persons and the current government has welcomed and encouraged the visit of UN special Rapporteurs to help provide technical support, expertise and best practices that can help shape the government’s views on reconciliation and accountability.
She said the US stood “very firmly” on the need for respect for human rights and the need for a process of accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
“While we are thankful that the days of the conflict our behind us, the effort to move forward on reconciliation is really truly only just beginning,” she said.
She said the Sri Lankan government that came into power in January 2015 has taken “some very encouraging steps” with respect to the efforts to return land to its rightful owners and effort to “give closure” to so many families whose loved ones are still unaccounted for and to “seek justice and accountability for the perpetrators of worst times of the conflict.”
She said the reconciliation process is at its beginning and the “hardest work” is still ahead but the country is not alone in this journey and the US stands ready to support Lanka.