|By Nilova Roy Chaudhury||February 2017|
New Delhi. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke with the new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson February 15, and resolved to “further expand and deepen” India-US ties.
Combating terrorism together was another key feature of their 10 minute conversation, their first telephonic conversation since the new US administration assumed office.
“The External Affairs Minister and Secretary Tillerson resolved to work together closely to further expand and deepen the multi-faceted strategic partnership between India and the US,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement issued late on February 15.
They also agreed to follow-up on the firm resolve expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump to cooperate closely in the global fight against terrorism
“They emphasized that close and strong relations between India and the US were not only in mutual interest but also had regional and global significance. In this context, they agreed to intensify cooperation in various sectors, including defence and security, energy, and economy” the MEA statement added.
Tillerson, former CEO of oil major Exxonmobil, assumed office as the Secretary of State under the new Trump administration on February 1, after he was approved by the houses of Congress.
This was Swaraj’s first telephonic conversation with 64-year-old Tillerson. Ms Swaraj is recovering at home after her kidney transplant. She has been working from home since her surgery and subsequent discharge from hospital.
Indo-US relations have been on an upward trajectory since the beginning of the millennium, with rapidly growing defence, security and trade linkages, and can now be counted among India’s most comprehensive and wide-ranging strategic partnerships.
Even before he assumed office, President Trump has said India and the United States would be “best friends.”
Speaking at a seminar on global economics, India’s Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar cautioned the Indian strategic community to not rush to “demonise” President Trump but to “analyse” his actions, several of which have generated considerable public outcry.
Less than a month in office, the Trump administration has been beset with a variety of controversies, the most recent of which has been the resignation of Michael Flynn, the US National Security Advisor, over his alleged ties with Russia.