NEW DELHI: After visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan, HR McMaster, the National Security Adviser of the Donald Trump administration on Tuesday arrived New Delhi and held discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and discussed Indo-US security ties, while reaffirming India as their Major Defence Partner.
MacMaster’s visit came at the heightened tensions between the India and Pakistan after the death sentence awarded to an alleged Indian ‘spy’ Kulbhushan Yadav by the Pakistani military court. Officially, it is believed that US government has no intension to mediate between India and Pakistan.
The US NSA landed in New Delhi from his talks in Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and some top officials, where strained relations between India and Pakistan were came up for discussion.
However, a fortnight back, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had said that the US administration was concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and wanted to see how it could de-escalate conflicts. The US was going to "find its place to be a part of that (de-escalating tensions)", she said.
McMaster’s visit was the maiden visit by a key functionary of the Trump administration to India, where both nation exchanged views on the security situation in the extended region, including Afghanistan, West Asia and North Korea.
After his meeting with the PM Modi, the prime minister’s office issued a statement by saying that the during the meeting between Modi and McMaster, views were exchanged on how India and the US can work together to effectively address the challenge of terrorism and to advance regional peace, security and stability.
Modi recalled his "positive telephonic conversations" with Trump that "reaffirmed the importance attached by both sides to the strategic partnership and to stepping up India-US engagement across the board", the PMO statement said.
Immediately after the talk, the US Embassy here in national capital came out with a statement, ”NSA McMaster emphasised the importance of the US-India strategic relationship and reaffirmed India's designation as a Major Defence Partner." In December 2016, previous Barack Obama administration had granted India the Major Defence Partner status.
Visiting NSA also held dialogue with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and other key functionaries in the foreign office.
"The two sides discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including their shared interest in increasing defence and counter-terrorism cooperation," said the US Embassy statement while giving a gist of the overnight visit and McMaster's meetings before. Describing the meetings as "productive", the statement said, "The visit was a part of regional consultations that included stops in Kabul and Islamabad."