U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
June 26, 2019
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. It’s great to be here. It’s great for me to be able to get in here so quickly after the election, the enormous election that Prime Minister Modi won. Having run a few campaigns myself, it was incredibly impressive, and the mandate that he’s received I think is incredibly important.
Minister Jaishankar, it’s great to be with you. It’s great to have a chance to spend as much time as we had here today. I know we’ll get a chance to do that regularly and frequently, and I very much look forward to that. I’m confident that we have the benefit of building on a strong foundation between two of the world’s great democracies. We saw this in the election, we saw this incredible democratic vigor lead to a wonderful outcome.
In recent decades, our relationship has made real strides, but there’s an awful lot more that we can do together. And we had a chance to talk about each of those big strategic opportunities between two great countries. We can in this context see each other not just as bilateral partners but as something much bigger than that: as friends who can help each other all around the world.
In addition to conveying President Trump’s best wishes, I also had the chance to discuss with Prime Minister Modi these historic opportunities. And I’ll elaborate on our potential in the speech at the India International Centre a little bit later this afternoon. In fact, I can say that the U.S.-India partnership is already beginning to reach new heights. We’ve bolstered our defense cooperation, we’ve solidified our common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and we’ve grown cooperation in energy and in space and in other areas. I know too we’ll have another opportunity to expand these bonds when Acting Secretary of Defense Esper and I welcome the foreign minister and Minister Singh to the United States later this year for the second ever 2+2. I will have then been a part of 100 percent of the strategic 2+2 dialogues.
The United States is committed to ensuring that India has the military capabilities it needs to uphold its territorial integrity and to confront 21st-century challenges. Completing the various military agreements we have already agreed to will help us hit that goal, and the United States is pursuing a range of efforts to meet President Trump’s commitment to shared defense equipment and technology with India, as we do with our closest partners.
India’s own experience with terrorism is very real; we know that. As the blasts that ripped through the Sri Lankan last Easter Sunday have shown, terrorism is a constant in this region, and India’s ability to fight it should be second to none. Our teams will continue to work together to improve information sharing, intelligence sharing, and strengthen India’s ability to fight terrorism.
And on that subject, I just came, as the foreign minister said, from Kabul. The core of America’s Afghanistan talks is a resolve that terrorists can never again exploit Afghanistan for their evil purposes. We are intensely grateful for India’s advice and support to ensure that we are successful in this endeavor. Great friends are bound to have disagreements. The United States has been clear we seek greater market access and the removal of trade barriers in our economic relationship. And today, I addressed these differences in the spirit of friendship, and I think that the two of us will be able to see a good outcome for each of our two countries. And we’ll keep working to resolve any economic disputes – not only those that we have at this moment, but those that with any significant trading relationship inevitably arise.
Look, we’ve got to get this piece right, the economic piece right, because there are a myriad of opportunities that lay before us in the Indo-Pacific region. Countries in this part of the world which have signed on to the Belt and Road projects have found Beijing’s deals come not with strings attached, but with shackles. Countries are looking to provide infrastructure, digital connectivity, and energy (inaudible) to their people without relinquishing their sovereignty. We, together, should act quickly to fulfill the ambitious vision for prosperity that’s shared by President Trump and Prime Minister Modi – not just for our own people, but for the good of the region and the world. Know this: When 1.7 billion people in the world’s two largest democracies come together, we can do great things. And I look forward to working with you on them. Thank you.