Washington, DC – US Vice President Mike Pence met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore according to the White House.
In a readout of the meeting, the White House said the two leaders met “ahead of the East Asia Summit in Singapore.” Reiterating the importance of the US-India strategic partnership and of advancing the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, the Vice President and Prime Minister Modi reaffirmed “the commitments of the two nations to strengthen security and counterterrorism cooperation and coordination.” On his behalf, Vice President Pence also encouraged free, fair, and reciprocal trade with India.
According to the pool of journalists traveling with the American leader, the Vice President Pence spoke first and mentioned recent naval exercises held by the US, India and Japan, giving “evidence of our commitment to ensuring free and open access to the seas all across this region.” The two sides, he said, would discuss “our ongoing effort to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“We are grateful to India’s strong support of our pressure campaign,” Pence said. “But we look forward to finding even more ways we can work together, even as the president moves toward another summit with Chairman Kim in the hope that we can finally bring a lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula,” Vice President Pence added.
Indiana in Hindi
There was a light moment during Indian leader Modi’s remarks when he riffed on the meaning of “Indiana,” US Vice President Pence’s home state.
Through his translator, he said that when he met Pence in the US he told him that “Indiana,” in Hindi, means “To come to India.” Modi then repeated his invitation to Pence to come visit.
Laughing appreciatively, Pence replied: “Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister … “I expect I will ‘Indiana.’”
The journalists identified two new faces in the US delegation: Tom Rose, a senior adviser to the VP, and Lisa Curtis, a senior director at the National Security Council. They took the places of the NSC’s Matt Pottinger and Alyssa Farah of the VP’s office, both of whom attended the earlier meeting with Vietnam.
US Vice President Pence tweeted after the meeting: “Important discussion with India’s Prime Minister @narendramodi while in Singapore. Spoke about our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific & reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen security and counterterrorism cooperation and coordination. #VPinAsia #ASEAN.”
Indian Prime Minister Modi tweeted in reply: “Delighted to have met you in Singapore, @VP Mike Pence. India and USA are time tested friends, who are cooperating on several subjects. Our talks today will further enhance the strong relations between our countries.”