US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is in India for a two-day visit focusing on "advancing the US-India ties". Ms Haley, the first American of Indian descent to hold a cabinet-level position in the US, began her two-day visit on Tuesday. She has emerged as a high-profile official of US President Donald Trump's administration laying down his hardline policy at the UN.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Ms Haley on Wednesday. She told PM Modi "it was important for India to cut Iranian oil use". "There's a will, a political will, from both sides to figure out how to make this work," Ms Haley said after the visit. "Prime Minister Modi very much understands where we are with Iran, he didn't question it, he didn't criticise it, he understood it and he also understands that (India's) relationship with the US is strong and important and needs to stay that way." India is one of the biggest importers of oil from Iran.
She spoke to NDTV's Nidhi Razdan today on several key issues including Pakistan.
Here are the highlights of her interview with NDTV.
- On the postponement of "2+2 summit", she says it won't affect US-India ties. "There is a good reason that (PM) Modi and Sushma (Swaraj) know of. There are already talking about rescheduling." She dismissed that the postponement was a snub to India.
- Nikki Haley, speaking to Nidhi Razdan on US-Iran ties and role of India in the bigger picture, said: "We have seen several violations that Iran was not following rules. Iran was violating use of ballistic weapons. We should all re-think who we want to do business with. Modi and me spoke about it. The fact that India cannot change its relations with Iran in a day, I suggested looking at other options."
- "We do not take the relations with Russia and India lightly. We have multiple things to look at with respect to US-Russia relations, Election meddling," she told NDTV.
- Asserting that "freedom of religion was important", she said, "India, US and everyone should respect religious sentiments and faiths. It needs to be protected. I don't think India alone needs to be reminded. Countries are falling apart and freedom of religion should take this into account."
- "US wants to invest more in US, we want trade to grow. The president just wants to make trade a balanced aspect. US would want no tariffs at all. We do not expect a trade war with India," she stressed.
- On being asked if she would like to be the president of the United States, she said, "I just want to focus on what needs to be done. I do not think about 2020, 2024. I want to serve the admin and the people of US. It's my personal goal to strengthen the US-India relations."
- US will not "continue to fund a country that kills its allies," Nikki Haley told NDTV. "Pakistan is trying to harbor terrorists. We have tried to cut funding. We need to see that Pakistan is being a good partner. We will not continue to fund a country that kills our allies. We will continue our stand on Pakistan."
- Nikki Haley also opened about families being separated at the US border. "No one likes to see the families being separated. We are trying to put safeguards in place to make sure US citizens are protected. We under no circumstances condone breaking the law."
- She stressed that no one "likes breaking families". "That's why (US President Donald Trump) tries to do the best they can to look at law and order."
- On the widely discussed travel ban in the United States that was recently approved by the Supreme Court, she said it is not a "Muslim ban". "Any country that we do not have enough information on, is the basis of the travel ban. It has nothing to do with religion. It is the changing times."