Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a closer security relationship between his country and the United States on Wednesday, in an address to the US Congress stressing the importance of warming ties between the two countries.
He dedicated much of the speech to the importance of fighting terrorism, thanking Congress for US support after a military group’s rampage in Mumbai killed 166 people in 2008.
“The fight against terrorism has to be fought at many levels. And the traditional tools of military, intelligence or diplomacy alone would not be able to win this fight,” Modi told a rare joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives.
“We have both lost civilians and soldiers in combating it. The need of the hour is for us to deepen our security cooperation,” Modi said.
He leavened the speech to lawmakers, the first such address by an international leader since Pope Francis’ in September, with jokes about Congress’ bitter partisan divide and yoga.
But Modi used it to make serious points about India’s neighbour Pakistan and regional concerns about Chinese expansionism.
“I commend the members of the US Congress for sending a clear message to those who preach and practice terrorism for political gains,” he said, not mentioning either country by name.