Harris brings up Pakistan's role in terrorism during Modi meet
United States Vice President Kamala Harris, in her first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raised the issue of Pakistan's role in terrorism, sending out a positive message for India. She said there is a need to check Pakistan's "support for terror groups." The two leaders had an hour-long meeting at the White House on Thursday, PM Modi's first day of an ongoing trip.
Harris acknowledged that India has been a victim of terrorism for several decades, according to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. "On terrorism, US VP Kamala Harris suo motu referred to Pakistan's role in that regard. She said that there were terror groups working there. She (has) asked Pakistan to take action so that these groups don't impact US security and of India," Shringla said.
"As democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world," Harris said. "And that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home and it is incumbent on our nations to of course protect democracies in the best interests of people of our countries," she added.
The US' relations with Pakistan have hit a new low since the Taliban takeover of the neighboring Afghanistan, which American troops recently left. US officials and others around the world have accused Pakistan of secretly supporting the terror group, thus playing a role in its return to power. Taliban overthrew the US-backed Afghan government in August and has since formed an interim government there.
PM Modi and the US Vice President also discussed ways to strengthen ties and protect the Indo-Pacific region. The two had earlier spoken over the phone in June, when India was dealing with a catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak. The Indian PM called Harris a "true friend." "Like a family, the sense of kinship and so warmly, you extended a helping hand...I will always remember that."
As part of his visit, PM Modi will hold a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden and attend the Quad Leaders' Summit at the White House on Friday. He will conclude the trip after addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Saturday.