WASHINGTON: With the mood in Delhi and Washington in harmony, India and the US can develop a genuinely strategic alliance, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared ahead of his first summit meeting with US President Barack Obama next week. “I have a one word answer: Yes. And with great confidence I say aye,” Modi told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in a wide-ranging interview, his first since assuming office May 26, when asked if it is possible for the two countries to develop a genuinely strategic alliance. The interview was telecast Sunday.
“Relations between India and America should not be seen within the limits of just Delhi and Washington. It’s a much larger sphere,” he said.
“The good thing is that the mood of both Delhi and Washington is in harmony with this understanding,” Modi said when asked if Washington genuinely wanted to try to substantially upgrade ties with India. “Both sides have played a role in this.”
“Indians and Americans have coexistence in their natural temperament. Now, yes, for sure, there have been ups and downs in our relationship in the last century,” he said.
“But from the end of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century, we have witnessed a big change. Our ties have deepened. India and the United States of America are bound together, by history and by culture. These ties will deepen further.”
Modi will be warmly welcomed by the Obama administration, which “has been courting Modi actively” since his election, when he makes his first trip to the White House next week, Zakaria noted calling it a “quite a turnaround for a man” who “was placed on a blacklist by the previous George W. Bush administration in 2005”.
Zakaria also noted that the ban stemmed from his alleged failure to quell the 2002 Gujarat riots as chief minister and Modi has been exonerated three times by India’s Supreme Court on this count.