Unprecedented trust between leaders of US, India: PM Modi

New Delhi, Jun 20 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said ties between India and the US are stronger and deeper than ever, and asserted that there is an “unprecedented trust” between the leaders of the two countries.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal ahead of his first state visit to the US, Modi, while talking about global politics, also said, “India deserves a much higher, deeper and wider profile and role.”

Talking about the India-China relationship, Modi said peace and tranquillity in the border areas are essential for normal bilateral ties.

“We have a core belief in respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity, observing the rule of law and peaceful resolution of differences and disputes. At the same time, India is fully prepared and committed to protect its sovereignty and dignity,” Modi told the US newspaper.

He said ties between New Delhi and Washington are stronger and deeper than ever.

There is an “unprecedented trust” between the leaders of the US and India, Modi said.

On the Ukraine conflict, Modi said, “Some people say that we are neutral. But we are not neutral. We are on the side of peace.”

“All countries should respect international law and the sovereignty of countries,” he said.

Disputes should be resolved with diplomacy and dialogue, not war, he added.

Modi said he has spoken several times to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

He said he recently spoke to Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Japan in May.

“India will do whatever it can” and supports “all genuine efforts to bring an end to the conflict and ensure enduring peace and stability”, he said.

In his interview, Modi said global institutions such as the UN must change.

He said, “Look at the membership of key institutions — does it truly represent the voice of democratic values?”

“A place like Africa — does it have a voice? India has such a huge population and is a bright spot in the global economy, but is it present?”

On India’s desire to be part of the UN Security Council, the prime minister pointed to the country’s role as a contributor of troops to peacekeeping operations around the world.

There has to be an evaluation of the current membership of the council and the world should be asked if it wants India to be there, he said.

The US daily said the Indian government has invested enormously in education and infrastructure, and it is poised to gain as multinationals look to diversify manufacturing and supply chains in an era of geopolitical tension.

“Let me be clear that we do not see India as supplanting any country. We see this process as India gaining its rightful position in the world,” Modi told the newspaper.

“The world today is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. To create resilience, there should be more diversification in supply chains,” he said.

In his interview, Modi also pointed out that he is the first prime minister to be born in free India.

“And that’s why my thought process, my conduct, what I say and do, is inspired and influenced by my country’s attributes and traditions. I derive my strength from it,” he said.

“I present my country to the world as my country is, and myself as I am,” he said.