US Ambassador to India’s Richard Verma on Friday reiterated that convergence of views was the “new normal” in Indo-US ties, which is “based on results” and not on “rhetoric”, seeking to assuage nerves in New Delhi on Donald Trump’s election as President. Verma said, the next administration in Washington will consider strengthening ties with India as one of its top priorities, as the the two countries are “natural partners” at a time when the post World War-II order and its institutions are “under assault”. He was speaking on the future of India-US relations under the new administration, two days after Republican Party nominee Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States, clinching a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton.
“Even on issues that have divided us on recent years, climate change for example, there is convergence. Who would have thought that US and India would lead the world to a global climate agreement? This is the new normal strategic, political and economic convergence,” Verma said. In his nearly 20-minute speech, Verma, who is of India-origin, did not refer to Trump even once. Recently, speaking at Jamia Millia University, he had reached out to Muslims, denouncing the “unacceptable rhetoric” against the community during the election campaigns in the US.
He listed four reasons as to why further building and strengthening of the US-India relationship will be one of the top priorities of Trump administration, including “a strong bipartisan consensus” in Washington in this regard. “At a time of deep political polarisation in our country, enhancing the US India partnership is something that is refreshingly unifying across the political divide. We have greater convergence on the big issues of the day. We have made it clear that we support India’s rise as a global power.
“We see the impact in our counter-terror declarations and the condemnation of terrorism of all forms including cross-border terrorism, our renewed convergence on issues related to Afghanistan, our trilateral cooperation with Japan,” he said. Verma, who took over as the US’ top envoy in New Delhi in 2014, said shared values and systems including constitutional democracies, inclusive societies, protection of minority rights, free speech, assembly and religion are among the other major reasons that hold the two countries together.