United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said President Donald Trump’s visit to India highlighted the “value” of the relationship shared between the two countries. Trump visited three Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Agra, and New Delhi – during his trip on February 24 and February 25.
“President Donald Trump’s first official trip to India this week demonstrates the value the US places on the US-India partnership,” Pompeo tweeted. “Democratic traditions unite us, shared interests bond us, and under the President’s leadership our partnership has and will only grow stronger.”
Pompeo made the comment as he retweeted the White House’s post on Wednesday about the trip to India. “As we deepen our partnership with India, we remember that our two countries have always been united by shared traditions of democracy and constitutions that protect freedom, individual rights, and the rule of law,” the official account for the president’s office tweeted.
In a series of tweets, Acting Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells hailed Trump’s visit, and said “excellent progress” had been made in relation to the partnership between the two nations. “The president’s trip to India advanced shared goals and paved the way for further cooperation in key areas like energy, defense, people-to-people ties and Indo-Pacific coordination,” she tweeted. “As the president announced, we concluded over $3billion in defence sales to provide our finest military helicopters to Indian Armed Forces. We’re proud to be India’s premier defense partner. Together, we defend our sovereignty and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region for both our peoples.”
Wells also announced that United States’ congressional representatives and parliamentarians will hold an “exchange visit” for the first time in April. “We’re working together to support human spaceflight and eager to welcome more Indian higher education students to the US,” she added.
The US diplomat said that “great strides” were made to further the United States and India’s energy partnership, and pointed out that steps had been taken to develop India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve and provide $600 million in US International Development Finance Corporation investment to develop solar and wind energy.”
Earlier on Thursday, Wells had also offered condolences for the loss of lives after mob violence in Delhi. At least 38 people were killed in North East Delhi with several attacks on Muslim homes. “Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased and injured in New Delhi,” she tweeted. “We echo PM Narendra Modi’s call for calm and normalcy and urge all parties to maintain peace, refrain from violence, and respect the right of peaceful assembly.”
Trump, who was in India as violence erupted in North East Delhi after supporters and those opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act clashed, said he had discussed religious freedom with Modi, but added that it was “up to India” to handle the ongoing violence in parts of Delhi. US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticised Trump for his comment on Thursday, saying it was a “failure of leadership on human rights”. On Wednesday, several lawmakers in the United States raised concerns over the violence.
The two leaders held bilateral discussions on Tuesday during which a potentially “big trade deal” was discussed. On Monday, at the “Namaste Trump” event in Ahmedabad’s Motera stadium, the US president had announced a defence deal worth $3-billion.