India welcomes President Donald Trump's Afghan and South Asia policy, India's envoy to the US has said, underlining that New Delhi shares America's concern over Pakistan which provides safe havens to terrorists.
India's ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna said on terrorism, India and the US have a strategic convergence in a host of areas, including in its fight against terrorism. "We welcome the new Afghan policy because we share the concerns and the objectives that the safe havens that have been given to terrorists in Pakistan. The cross-border operations that are carried out from there concern us as much they are for the people of Afghanistan. Therefore, we share the policies announced by the Trump Administration which we welcome," Sarna said.
President Donald Trump last week hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to terror groups that kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. He also warned Pakistan that it has "much to lose" by harbouring terrorists.
Addressing the Hawaii-based East West Center, a top American think-tank, Sarna said on terrorism there is a very strong joint statement between India and the US, issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in June. He also said Pakistan should not be using its territory or the territory under its control for fomenting terrorism under its control.
"There is recognition of the fact that connectivity projects, while they’re welcome, they have to go by certain basic rules and regulations of transparency, of respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty and ensuring that in the process are not trampling the political and economic rights of the countries that are involved," Sarna said.
He also met Tulsi Gabbard, the first ever Hindu elected to the US House of Representative in 2013 is the three-term Democratic Congresswoman. "There is cooperation in maritime security. PACOM (Pacific Command) here is playing an important role. India today is doing more military exercises with the US than with any other country," he said.
"When you look at actual potential of the two countries, there are various areas in which India is looking to buy more from the US," he said and cited the example of civil aviation and oil sector.
In Hawaii, Sarna met the US Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry Harris to discuss India-US defence relationship. The strong global partnership between India and the US was very much evident during the visit of Prime Minister Modi and his discussions with Trump, he said, adding that this should not be seen through the prism of any third country.
"I think in terms of facing the challenges whether there be of global terrorism whether it be of issues of maritime security whether that be the freedom of the seas and navigation and connectivity issues, these are all issues which democracies have to handle and it becomes much easier to handle them together," he was quoted as saying by the Hawaii Radio.
Responding to a question, he refuted reports that the Indo-US relationship is to counterweight China. "Well you know I'm not very sure whether it is useful to see these relations to the prism of any other relationship. I think the India-US relationship has a strong logic of its own. Its relationship between the world's largest and the world's oldest democracies. It is a relationship based on convergence of fundamental values, freedom of individual liberties," he said.
"Of course there is a very strong people-to-people link, now that we have a very successful and increasingly powerful diaspora of about three million people of Indian-origin in the US. So I would rather take this relationship on its on its own basis and not look at it from the prism of any third country," Sarna said in response to a question.
According to the envoy, India has a very broad-based relationship with China which has multilateral aspects and also strong economic and investment.
"Then we have recently resolved an issue (Dokalam standoff) at the border through diplomatic channels. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is something which faces many of the challenges of the world. And it gives a platform for major emerging economies to come together and to implement these issues," he said.