Pence says USA committed to Indo-Pacific, not seeking control

PM Modi shakes hands with US Vice President Mike Pence during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Singapore on Wednesday

In an interaction with Mr Pence ahead of the East Asia summit in Singapore, PM Modi claimed that all global terror attacks can be traced back to a single place of origin in India's neighbourhood.

Modi said he was confident that his visit to Singapore would impart fresh momentum to New Delhi's growing partnership with ASEAN and East Asia Summit nations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told United States Vice-President Mike Pence that Pakistan's act of "mainstreaming terrorists involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks" was a matter of serious concern for the worldwide community.

Asian nations gave up hopes of completing a 16-nation trade bloc this year, with Chinese and Australian officials now looking to finalize the deal in 2019.China and the US could find a solution to their trade differences that benefits both sides, Premier Li Keqiang said.

He said Washington had taken action to promote this vision, including steps to spur private investment in infrastructure and a pursuit of trade that is "free, fair, and reciprocal".

There was also some discussion on the issue of terrorism and Pence referred to the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, known as 26/11, later this month.

"So there was some good understanding on the area of how we move forward in building cooperation on counter-terrorism and both countries recognised that this is a challenge which we will have to fight together and to fight along with the rest of the global community", he said. This is a new sector in Indo-US relations.

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While the Singapore meetings were typically focused on cooperation and goodwill, concerns over Myanmar's treatment of its ethnic Rohingya Muslims flared with unusually sharp comments to the country's leader, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

"Both sides agreed that there had been a substantial enhancement in our defense relationship, in our imports of equipment from the U.S. but Prime Minister in particular stressed that there was a great opportunity for USA in India in making defense equipment and setting up defense industry in India. We expressed our readiness to import more oil and gas from United States as a way of expanding our trade", he said.

Modi pointed out that in the last two years, since Trump assumed office, U.S. exports to India have grown by 50%, making India perhaps the only big country with which the United States has managed to reduce its trade deficit significantly.

"We'll also be explaining the benefits of free markets and how APEC helps to write the rules of better economic integration in the region", the official said. "And in that context the Prime Minister expressed hope that this would be the approach that United States might take when it looks at the whole issue of the H-1B visa", Gokhale said.

He will also participate in Thursday's East Asia Summit, along with the ten-member ASEAN's other key dialogue partners, including the US, China, Australia, Canada and Russian Federation.

The US trade war with China has sparked tit-for-tat tariffs that threaten world growth.

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