India, US ties are unshakeable, says top US diplomat

The ties between India and the US are “unshakeable”, a top American diplomat has said, asserting that the Trump administration looks forward to an even warmer relationship as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosts President Donald Trump later this month.

President Trump will pay a state visit to India on February 24 and 25 at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi.

“The ties between our countries are unshakeable, and we look forward to an even warmer relationship as” the prime minister hosts the president later this month, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells tweeted on Saturday.

“The US and India enjoy a close partnership that grows stronger day by day. Together, we are breaking records. For example: we welcomed a record number of Indian exchange students to the US last year and hope to receive even more this year,” she said.

India, she said, is at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region and plays an increasingly prominent role on the world’s stage. “The US looks forward to partnering with India at every step of the way,” Wells said.

Ahead of the presidential visit, Alyssa Ayres senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, said that Trump appears to be focused first and foremost on the stadium event and the prospect of very large crowds, then on a trade deal.

“So, I am watching most closely what happens with the ongoing trade negotiations – which despite efforts last fall, did not manage to reach an agreement,” Ayres said. “I expect whatever emerges on the trade front to be modest as we are not talking about something resembling even a bilateral investment treaty, let alone a more ambitious agreement,” she said. But any progress would be a positive step forward, given how tough some of these trade issues have been over the years, she noted.

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