Bipartisan Congressional Group Sends Letter to President Trump in Advance of Meeting with India Prime Minister Modi
WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan group of members of Congress composing of Senators John Cornyn and Mark Warner, and Representatives Ami Bera and George Holding, today sent a letter to President Donald Trump emphasizing the strategic importance and value of the relationship between the United States and India. The letter comes as President Trump prepares to meet with Prime Minister Modi at the G20 summit on Friday.
The letter emphasizes the dramatic progress the United States and India have made in recent years, particularly in strategic and defense areas. The letter highlights that the relationship is ultimately based on shared values and interests, writing “our nations share a commitment to democratic values, shared economic interests, and converging strategic goals.” The members noted India’s recent elections, which were the largest the world has ever seen.
Said Senator Warner: “As President Trump meets with Prime Minister Modi, he must stay focused on the big picture. India is a key strategic partner to the United States, based on both our shared democratic systems and our strategic interests. Our relationship has grown significantly over the past decade, and the United States and India have an opportunity to continue building our partnership across all sectors of our societies. I look forward to finding ways for increased collaboration and exchanges between our two democracies.”
Said Senator Cornyn: “When it comes to promoting democracy and combatting terrorism specifically, it’s vital that the United States has a strong partner in the Asia-Pacific. India is just that, and has remained an engaged, active friend in many arenas. Our two democratic countries represent real beacons of stability and optimism in a world marked by violence and volatility.”
Said Rep. Bera: “As the senior Indian-American member of Congress, a strong U.S.– India relationship is of vital strategic interest to both nations. We urge President Trump to engage with Prime Minister Modi and his new government and continue to build on the success of past Democratic and Republican administrations.”
Said Rep. Holding: “India is a good friend and ally of the United States. We are partners bound together by our shared values of freedom and democracy. It is important that we continue to work together to deepen our economic ties and bolster our strategic relationship.”
A full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Mr. President:
As you prepare for your upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit, we write to highlight the continuing strategic importance of the U.S.-India relationship. We urge you to reinforce the value this relationship brings to the United States, India, and the world at large and to find opportunities for greater collaboration across all elements of our partnership.
Over the past fifteen years, the relationship between the United States and India has made tremendous strides. First and foremost, our relationship is founded upon our shared values. The United States is the world’s oldest democracy and, as its recent election dramatically illustrated, India is the world’s largest democracy. These shared values – of government by the people and for the people – are particularly important as the United States and India work with other partners to combat rising authoritarianism across the region.
The progress the United States and India have made over the past fifteen years has been driven by our shared strategic interests. Our two countries are champions of the free and open Indo-Pacific. India was also designated as the United States’ only Major Defense Partner in 2016, which has facilitated defense trade and technology sharing between our two countries. The United States has now sold an estimated $18 billion in defense goods to India, with the great majority of those sales coming in the past decade. And recently, our two countries signed a major defense agreement, entitled the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement to facilitate interoperability and real-time secure information sharing between our militaries. Our two countries collaborate on a range of shared security priorities including maritime security, counter-piracy, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity.
We understand that trade relations between the United States and India have experienced significant tensions in recent years, with the recent revocation of a trade preference program by the United States and the imposition of retaliatory tariffs by the Indian government on a range of U.S. imports. These challenges, among other trade disagreements, including over data localization, price controls, and e-commerce demand sustained attention and dialogue given the importance of each country to the other’s economic success. For India, the United States is their second largest export market. India is the United States’ ninth largest trading partner and has invested nearly $10B in the United States in 2017 – an increase of more than 11 percent since 2016. While our economic relationship may have its ups and downs, it delivers countless jobs and benefits to our two countries. With India’s large youth population, and steady economic growth, these benefits promise to only accelerate in the coming years.
Over the course of the past three U.S. administrations, the United States and India have built a close and enduring relationship. Our nations share a commitment to democratic values, shared economic interests, and convering strategic goals. We hope that you will continue to strengthen this partnership as you meet with Prime Minister Modi at the G20.