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Head of US House Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on Modi


New Delhi, Mar 10: An influential American Senator has called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi here and appealed for increasing bilateral trade and counter-terrorism cooperation between the US and India.

Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful US House Foreign Relations Committee called on Modi here. He is leading a Congressional delegation to India.


Describing his meeting with Prime Minister Modi as the "highpoint" of his current India trip, Royce, the former Co-Chair of the Congressional India caucus, said India and the US wants to see a five-fold increase in bilateral trade between the two countries. The economic reforms are a step in that direction, he said.

"If our governments cut through unnecessary red tape,"the goal of increase in bilateral trade could be achieved much faster, Royce told PTI. "I congratulated the Prime Minister for the budget that took the important step of lowering corporate tax rate to 25 per cent. That would help lure investors into India," Royce said.

He also talked with the Prime Minister of his own experience in what has been achieved in Gujarat after the devastating earthquake a decade ago. "It was truly impressive," Royce said.

"My hope is that the type of reforms he brought as Chief Minister to Gujarat State, would bring as Prime Minister to India and that it will change some of the dynamics (of doing business in India)," the top Republican lawmaker said.

Responding to a question, Royce said counter-terrorism issues were also discussed during his meeting with the Prime Minister. "My own opinion is that the civilian government in Pakistan is not the institution that is supporting the LeT. But my belief is that the ISI is supporting LeT and other groups," he said.

Pakistan, Royce said, needs to take steps to bring to justice those who were involved in the Mumbai terrorist attacks. "I have called for turning them over to the international criminal court for their crimes against humanity and their terrorism in Mumbai," he said. Royce said that the LeT camps in Pakistan remain open.

He also discussed with the Prime Minister, the need for greater cooperation on counter-terrorism issues and increased intelligence sharing. "One of the steps that I suggested that we need more high-level visits by intelligence and security agencies between the two countries," he said.


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