Published On: Tue, Sep 17th, 2019

India-US relations in good health, foreign minister says

New Delhi: India’s external affairs minister said Tuesday that India-U.S. relations have come a long way and are in very good health, playing down trade differences between the two countries.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar addresses a press conference on the performance of the ministry of external affairs in first 100 days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new term in office in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said India has been engaging with the U.S. for months to try to resolve the trade issues.

He described ties between the countries as “a glass 90% full rather than 10% empty,” and added, “there is no facet of the relationship today which hasn’t gone upwards over the last 20 years.”

India and the U.S. were estranged for several decades over U.S. support for Indian archrival Pakistan, and India’s development of nuclear weapons.

Ties have improved in recent years, but were strained recently by trade and economic issues. In June, the U.S. accused India of imposing a wide range of trade barriers, and ended preferential trade deals with India. In return, India imposed higher import duties on U.S. goods.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to visit the U.S. to address the U.N. General Assembly this month and will also speak to the Indian diaspora in Houston, Texas, at an event titled “Howdy, Modi!”

President Donald Trump plans to attend the Houston meeting, which Jaishankar said was a “great honor” and an achievement for the Indo-American community.

Jaishankar made the comments in a news conference marking 100 days of the Modi government’s second term.

Asked if India should be worried about its international image after it imposed a security lockdown in Indian-controlled Kashmir and revoked its semi-autonomy last month, Jaishankar replied: “Don’t worry about what people will say on Jammu and Kashmir. India’s position is clear since 1972.”

Under a 1972 Simla Agreement, India and Pakistan agreed to solve their rival claims to Kashmir through bilateral negotiations. Pakistan says the Kashmir dispute should be solved in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiris and United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in its entirety, but each controls only part of it.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming insurgent groups that have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. Pakistan denies the charge.

AP

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