Top Trump aide calls on PM Modi, discuss security scenario

Top Trump aide calls on PM Modi, discuss security scenario
In the first top-level interaction, US National Security Adviser Lt. General  H R McMaster called on Narendra Modi  on Tuesday,  sharing President Donald Trump's perspective with the Prime Minister on the security situation in the extended region, including in Afghanistan, West Asia and North Korea.

During the conversation, they exchanged views on how both countries can work together to effectively address the challenge of terrorism and to advance regional peace, security and stability, a Prime Minister Office (PMO) statement said.

In the first visit by a senior official of the Trump administration,  McMaster also held discussions with his Indian counterpart Ajith Doval and foreign secretary S Jaishankar before departing in what was described by the US embassy in India as "productive meetings."

During the talks, which were expected to set the course of bilateral relations, McMaster emphasized the importance of the U.S.-India strategic relationship and reaffirmed India’s designation as a major defence partner, the US embassy said in a press statement after the meetings here.

The PMO said McMaster conveyed the greetings of President Donald Trump to the PM.  Modi recalled his positive telephonic conversations with Trump soon after he took office, which reaffirmed the importance attached by both sides to the strategic partnership and to stepping up India-U.S. engagement across the board.

McMaster's visit to Delhi was a part of US regional consultations that included stops in Kabul and Islamabad.  Significantly, McMaster’s visit to Afghanistan,  Pakistan and India came just days after the US dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb targeting an Islamic State complex in Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan.

The US NSA arrived in Delhi on Monday evening from Pakistan where he met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and some top officials on Monday. He had also met Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan NSA Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi.

Reports from Pakistan had said that, during McMaster’s call on Sharif, the latter reiterated his “firm conviction” that sustained dialogue and meaningful engagement was the only way forward for India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Kashmir dispute.

They also said Sharif welcomed President Trump’s willingness to help India and Pakistan resolve their differences particularly on Kashmir and noted that this could go a long way in bringing sustainable peace, security and prosperity to the region, the statement said.

The Pakistan Prime Minister Office had said in a statement that he shared his concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the continuing impasse. Sharif conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to work with the international community to explore ways in which the Afghan crisis can be resolved, it said.

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