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US lawmakers ask Trump, Modi to stay focused on 'big picture' of India-US ties

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

An influential bipartisan group of American lawmakers has asked President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stay focused on "big picture" of the India-US ties and engage in dialogue to resolve disagreements over several issues, including trade and data localisation.

The bipartisan group of members of the Congress composing of Senators John Cornyn and Mark Warner, and the House Representatives Ami Bera and George Holding, sent a letter to Trump on Thursday.

The letter was sent hours before a meeting between Trump and Modi in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit.

In the letter, a copy of which was released to the press later in the day, the lawmakers emphasised the strategic importance and value of the relationship between the United States and India.

The letter emphasises the dramatic progress the United States and India have made in recent years, particularly in strategic and defense areas.

It highlights that the bilateral relationship is ultimately based on shared values and interests,.

"We understand that trade relations between the United States and India have experienced significant tensions in recent years, with the recent revocation of a trade preference programme by the United States and the imposition of retaliatory tariffs by the Indian government on a range of US imports," the letter said.

These challenges, among other trade disagreements, including over data localization, price controls, and e-commerce demand sustained attention and dialogue given the importance of each country to the other's economic success, the Congressmen said.

"While our economic relationship may have its ups and downs, it delivers countless jobs and benefits to our two countries. With India's large youth population, and steady economic growth, these benefits promise to only accelerate in the coming years," they wrote.

Trump and Modi "must stay focused on the big picture," asserted Warner adding that India is a key strategic partner to the US.

"Our relationship has grown significantly over the past decade, and the United States and India have an opportunity to continue building our partnership across all sectors of our societies. I look forward to finding ways for increased collaboration and exchanges between our two democracies," he said.

"When it comes to promoting democracy and combatting terrorism specifically, it's vital that the United States has a strong partner in the Asia-Pacific. India is just that, and has remained an engaged, active friend in many arenas. Our two democratic countries represent real beacons of stability and optimism in a world marked by violence and volatility," Cornyn said.

A strong USIndia relationship is of vital strategic interest to both nations, observed Congressman Bera.

"We urge President Trump to engage with Prime Minister Modi and his new government and continue to build on the success of past Democratic and Republican administrations, he said.

"Our two countries are champions of the free and open Indo-Pacific. India was also designated as the United States' only Major Defense Partner in 2016, which has facilitated defense trade and technology sharing between our two countries," it said.

The United States has now sold an estimated USD 18 billion in defence goods to India, with the great majority of those sales coming in the past decade. And recently, the two countries signed a major defense agreement, entitled the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement to facilitate interoperability and real-time secure information sharing between the two militaries.

Our two countries collaborate on a range of shared security priorities including maritime security, counter-piracy, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity," they wrote.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 28 2019. 14:15 IST