Indo-Pacific co-operation: Pompeo says 'Modi hai to mumkin hai'
13 June 2019
The US administration is using the Narendra Modi government’s own oft-repeated slogan, `Modi hai to mumkin hai’ (Modi can make things happen) to push President Donald Trump’s trade agenda on India.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cited the same slogan when he said the US wants to take the bilateral relationship with India to the next level and said the Trump and Modi Administrations have a "unique opportunity" to make it happen.
"As Prime Minister Modi said in his latest campaign, 'Modi hai to mumkin hai,' or 'Modi makes it possible', I'm looking forward to exploring what's possible between our people," Pompeo said in his major India policy speech at the India Ideas Summit of US-India Business Council on Wednesday.
Pompeo, who will arrive in New Delhi later this month for a meeting with his new counterpart, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, listed out some of the "big ideas and big opportunities", including cooperation in Indo-Pacific region that he said can take bilateral relationship to a new level.
Pompeo will be visiting India, Sri Lanka, Japan and South Korea from 24 to 30 June. His four-nation tour is aimed at deepening US partnerships in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
Pompeo said under President Donald Trump, the US has taken defence cooperation to newer heights, solidified their common vision for the Indo-Pacific and taken a far tougher stand on Pakistan's unacceptable support for terrorism.
Pompeo said he has a strong partner in his new counterpart, Jaishankar – a former ambassador to the United States.
"He said in a speech in April that he's ready to cultivate warmer relations with America – and the feeling is mutual. We want to move ahead," he said and enumerated how that can be done.
First, the two countries have to build ever-stronger relationships, he said.
"Forging strong ties means formalizing these individual friendships. Last year, we kicked off the '2+2 dialogue' alongside the Department of Defence. We've also reinvigorated the Quad Dialogue among India, the United States, Japan, and Australia – all like-minded democracies in the Indo-Pacific. These are all good steps," he said.
India and the US, he said, must embrace the strategic framework that works for both the nations. "We respect India as a sovereign power, with its own unique politics and strategic challenges. We realise it's different to deal with the likes of China or Pakistan from across an ocean than across a border," he said.
Making a strong case for a free and open Indo-Pacific, he said it starts from the premise that the two share common values of democracy, freedom, and a belief in the ingenuity of the human spirit. "It's only natural that the world's most populous democracy should partner with the world's oldest democracy to maintain their shared vision for the Indo-Pacific."
"Third, we have to deliver," Pompeo said.
The Trump Administration has already enabled American companies to export more high technology items to India, including cutting-edge defence platforms like armed UAVs and ballistic missile defence systems. "We've already launched the Asia-EDGE programme, to help India raise private capital to meet its energy security and access needs," he said.
"These are solid achievements, but we want to do much more. We clearly have overlapping interests in defence, energy, and space," he added.