India, US Discuss Ways to Enhance Strategic Partnership

Senior US Senator John McCain met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here on Wednesday during which they discussed ways to enhance Indo-US strategic partnership as also the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ahead of his visit, the Republican Senator from Arizona had said, "We seek to take our strategic partnership with India to the next level, it is important for US leaders to reach out personally to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially in light of recent history."

Talking about the meeting between Swaraj and McCain, who will call on Modi tomorrow, the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said the two leaders discussed bilateral ties and how to take them forward.

And since McCain himself is a war veteran, he also talked about troops deployment in Afghanistan and situation in Iraq.

Significantly, McCain is against US withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, maintaining that if Afghanistan goes Iraq's way in the absence of US forces, it would leave India with a clear and present danger on its periphery and for this reason, he was deeply concerned about the consequences of the President's plan to pull all of US troops out of the war-torn country by 2016.

On US President Barack Obama inviting Modi for a meeting in Washington, McCain during his address to Senate ahead of his visit had said, "I wish he had extended that invitation sooner, but it is positive nonetheless. When the Prime Minister comes to Washington, I urge our congressional leaders to invite him to address a joint session of Congress.

"I can imagine no more compelling scene than the elected leader of the world's largest democracy addressing the elected representatives of the world's oldest democracy."

McCain is among the high-profile visitors from the US this month, which will also see a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry for Indo-US Strategic Dialogue on July 31.

However, Kerry's visit will be preceded by US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns' trip here.




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