Prime Minister Narendra Modi met a US Congressional delegation in New Delhi and appreciated the support and constructive role of the US Congress in deepening the India-US partnership.
Met a US Congressional delegation led by Senator @JohnCornyn and consisting of Senators @MikeCrapo, @SenTuberville, @SenMikeLee and Congressmen @RepTonyGonzales, @RepEllzey. Appreciated the support and constructive role of the US Congress for deepening the India-US partnership. pic.twitter.com/trGJGExv5N
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 13, 2021
The US Congressional delegation, which met Prime Minister Modi on Saturday, was led by Senator John Cornyn and consisted of Senator Mike Crapo, Senator Tommy Tuberville, Senator Mike Lee, Rep Tony Gonzales and Rep Jake Ellzey.
Senator Cornyn is the co-founder and co-Chair of the Senate caucus on India and Indian-Americans. He was one of the two US senators who recently urged US President Joe Biden to waive sanctions against India over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defence system, saying such a punitive measure would endanger the growing cooperation between India and the US. He was also one of the US lawmakers who attended the Howdy Modi event in September 2019 and is the co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
According to a statement released by the government, the Congressional delegation noted the excellent management of COVID situation in India in-spite of the challenges of a large and diverse population. The prime minister said people’s participation based on the democratic ethos of the country played a key role in managing the worst pandemic of the last one century.
Modi appreciated the consistent support and constructive role of the US Congress in deepening the India-US comprehensive global strategic partnership, which is anchored in shared democratic values.
There was a warm and frank discussion on regional issues of mutual interest, including those related to South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region, according to the statement. The prime minister and the visiting delegation noted the increasing convergence of strategic interests between the two strategic partners and expressed desire to further enhance cooperation with an aim to promote global peace and stability.
They also exchanged views on the potential for enhancing the bilateral relationship and strengthening cooperation on contemporary global issues such as terrorism, climate change and reliable supply chains for critical technologies.
Significance of the meet
The meet comes ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India early next month and gains in significance as it shows India's and US's commitment towards each other. On Sunday, director of Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Dmitry Shugaev said at Dubai air show, "Russia has started supplying S-400 air defense system to India".
According to an Indian Express report, India signed a $5.5 billion deal with Russia in 2018 for five surface-to-air missile systems for air defence against Pakistan and China. The proposed transfer is one of the friction points with the US, which passed a law in 2017 under which any country engaged with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors could face sanctions.
US Senator John Cornyn and Democratic Senator Mark Warner had written a letter to Biden last month calling for a waiver on the grounds of national security and broader cooperation.
“We believe there is a national security imperative to waiving sanctions,” the senators said in their letter. They said they were concerned the transfer of the Russian systems would trigger sanctions against India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which was enacted to hold Russia accountable for interfering in US elections, cyber hacking and bullying Ukraine.
With input from agencies