Ties between India, US stronger and deeper than ever: PM Modi in WSJ interview

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As he heads to the US on an official State Visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that ties between New Delhi and Washington are stronger and deeper than ever.

In an interview to the Wall Street Journal, the PM said with regard to the Ukraine conflict that India is not neutral but is on the side of peace.

He also said that “India deserves a much higher, deeper and wider profile and a role” on the world stage.

On ties with Washington, as he prepares for bilateral talks with US President Joe Biden, he said there “is an unprecedented trust” between the leaders of the US and India.

He also hailed the growing defence cooperation between the two countries as “an important pillar of our partnership”, which he said extends to trade, technology and energy.

On China, the PM said: “For normal bilateral ties with China, peace and tranquility in the border areas is essential. We have a core belief in respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity, observing the rule of law and peaceful resolution of differences and disputes. At the same time, India is fully prepared and committed to protect its sovereignty and dignity.”

On Ukraine, and the feeling in the West that India should take a stronger line against Russia, the PM said: “I don’t think this type of perception is widespread in the US”, referring to perceived criticism of New Delhi’s stance on Russia. “I think India’s position is well known and well understood in the entire world. The world has full confidence that India’s topmost priority is peace.”

On the Ukraine conflict, he said: “Some people say that we are neutral. But we are not neutral. We are on the side of peace.”

“All countries should respect international law and the sovereignty of countries. Disputes should be resolved with “diplomacy and dialogue, not war,” the PM said.

The PM said that “India deserves a much higher, deeper and wider profile and a role”.

He said that global institutions such as the UN must change.

“Look at the membership of key institutions—does it truly represent the voice of democratic values?” he said. “A place like Africa—does it have a voice? India has such a huge population and is a bright spot in the global economy, but is it present?”

PM Modi pointed to India’s role as a contributor of troops for peacekeeping operations around the world. “There has to be an evaluation of the current membership” of the council “and the world should be asked if it wants India to be there.”

On India inviting big corporates like Apple and Foxconn to set up manufacturing units in India, the PM said:

“Let me be clear that we do not see India as supplanting any country. We see this process as India gaining its rightful position in the world.

“The world today is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. To create resilience, there should be more diversification in supply chains.”

“I am the first prime minister to be born in free India,” PM Modi said. “And that’s why my thought process, my conduct, what I say and do, is inspired and influenced by my country’s attributes and traditions. I derive my strength from it.”

“I present my country to the world as my country is, and myself, as I am,” he said.

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