NEW DELHI: A day after Washington abruptly postponed the 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of India and the US slated for July 6, the US permanent representative to the United Nations Nikki R Haley insisted that the cancellation had nothing to do with India, and that ties between the two nations were stronger now than they had ever been.
And in what must have been music to Indian ears, she also stressed that the US would not tolerate “its government, or any other government, giving safe haven to terrorists. We won’t tolerate it. We are communicating this message to Pakistan more strongly than in the past and we hope to see changes.”
Delivering a talk on “Advancing India-US Relations” organised by the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi Thursday afternoon, Haley said the bilateral relationship “will mark a new milestone when the US and India conduct the first ever 2+2 dialogue. The delay in that meeting was completely unrelated to India. The time and location are being re-scheduled now. It will happen soon.”
She began by recounting her visit to Humayun’s tomb and “an inspiring interfaith tour of Old Delhi,” and said that “It reminded me that, of all the things America and India share, freedom of religion is one of the most important. Nations as diverse as ours can only be held together by true tolerance and respect.”
Emphasizing her Indian roots, she said “It’s been an amazing visit to this beautiful country that gave so much to my parents and in turn to me.”
Turning to Iran, she said: “Iran is a theocratic dictatorship that abuses its people, funds terrorism, and spreads conflict throughout the Middle East…. Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon threatens all of us…. Meanwhile, India is a state with advanced nuclear technologies widely accepted around the world. Why? Because India is a democracy and continues to be a responsible leader…In our eyes, Iran is the next North Korea.”
As for China, she said that while it was “an important country …unlike India, China does not share our commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. This makes China’s expansion of loans and investments in countries in the region a matter of concern for many of us. China’s failure to respect the rights of its people and the rule of law will limit its own ability to grow and prosper over the long term. And unlike with India, this will limit the United States’ relationship with China.”
Asked whether the India US-relations had “lost it’s mojo” due to issues over Iran, trade, visas and other irritants, she said that “Americans don’t feel that way. The US, and the Trump administration specifically, puts a lot of value on the US India partnership..not because of where we've been, but because of where we are going.”