Washington, Sep 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the tone for his summit with US President Barack Obama Monday saying India and US should think of what they can do together for the whole world even as they agree to disagree on some issues.
India and US do not have to be comfortable with all aspects of their partnership “as it doesn’t happen even between a husband and a wife and yet the two are bound in a long-term commitment,” he said during a discussion at Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Modi, the sixth Indian Prime Minister to address the leading US think tank, spoke to the gathering in Hindi on economic growth in India and India-US relations. He also answered questions in Hindi.
The Prime Minister also cautioned the US against a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan saying “the US should not make the same mistake as in Iraq”.
He suggested a slow paced withdrawal so that the Taliban don’t get a chance to raise their head again.
Again citing Afghanistan as an example of what the two countries can do together, he said their partnership had played a key role in the emergence of a secure, stable and democratic Afghanistan.
Describing terrorism as a big challenge facing India for the last 40 years, Modi said countries should stop making a distinction between so called “good terrorism” and “bad terrorism”.
“Terrorism is terrorism and knows no boundaries,” he said and made a case for promoting tourism saying “tourism unites and terrorism divides.”
“Non-violence is at the core of our philosophy,” he said pointing out all the terrorism in India is “exported” by other countries and not home grown.
And as he had mentioned in a recent interview with CNN, no Muslim in India would fall for Al Qaeda.
Taking a dig at the US, Modi said that in the 1990s when he would speak to US State Department officials about terrorism, they would dismiss it as India’s law and order problem.
But after 9/11 when he visited the US he was being explained about terrorism. “That means that unless and until we have a bomb explosion we don’t understand what terrorism is.”
Modi ruled out arbitration or adjudication on the India-China boundary dispute saying the two countries were quite competent to talk to each other and solve their disputes.
“We admit that there is a border dispute but both sides have agreed upon solving the problem urgently through dialogue. There is no need for separate arbitration.”
Turning to India’s neighbourhood, Modi said India wanted peace with its neighbours and recalled how he had invited the heads of SAARC nations to his swearing in ceremony last May.
“No country can exist on its own, we have to take other countries along,” he said. “Ideology has limits, philosophy is limitless.”
India’s philosophy is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, a Sanskrit phrase which means “the world is one family”, he said.
Modi is set to have his first meeting with Obama later Monday evening at a private dinner in the Blue Room of the White House.