US lauds PM Modi's active diplomatic efforts
Washington: Through his active diplomatic efforts in the last one year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is signalling that India will be a player on the global stage for years to come, according to a top American diplomat.
"In foreign policy India has been on the move. In the past year the Prime Minister has reached out not just to the United States, but has visited over 18 countries and 33 cities," US Ambassador to India Richard Rahul Verma has said.
"He (Modi) is signalling that India will be a player on the global stage for years to come and we welcome and support that global leadership role - politically, economically and in global institutions," Verma said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a top American think-tank.
Within the region, Modi has reached out to leaders from Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. He successfully finalised a historic land boundary agreement with Bangladesh, he said.
There have been visits to Mauritius and the Seychelles, demonstrating that India wants to play an active role in the Indian Ocean, he said yesterday.
"We have also been heartened and grateful for the leadership India has shown in the face of recent crises. India's response to the devastating earthquake in Nepal has been remarkable," Verma said.
"In a similar gesture, India rushed to provide fresh water assistance to the Maldives when its water treatment facility ceased operating," said Verma, the first Indian-American head of the US mission in India.
India, he said, displayed leadership beyond regional boundaries. In Yemen, India organised land and sea evacuations of civilians that included nationals from all over the world, including the United States and Pakistan, he said.
As part of its 'Act East' agenda, India has strengthened ties with Asian powers, he said. "The Prime Minister has been working closely with (Japanese) Prime Minister Abe in recognition of India's shared interests with Japan, visited Australia, and made a historic trip to Fiji."
India assigned its first permanent envoy to ASEAN this year and during his visit to China, Prime Minister Modi was able to strike a balanced tone between enhancing cooperation and seeking to resolve outstanding issues, Verma said, adding the two nations are partnering more closely than ever before.
"We are tracking 77 different initiatives that came out of the January Obama-Modi Summit, in fields that range from defense cooperation to health and renewable energy," he said.
"The Joint Strategic Vision on the Indo-Pacific region we announced during the President's visit outlined ways our two nations can come together in the region to further the prospects for greater prosperity, peace and stability," he said.
"Our two democracies are demonstrating how the region can work collaboratively towards a better future, based on respect for a rules-based order and the peaceful resolution of disputes. As the Prime Minister recently said, it's not just what the US and India can do for each other, but what we can do for the world," Verma added.