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 U.S. 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 U.S. support after a Pakistan-based 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 neighbor and arch-rival Pakistan and regional concerns about Chinese expansionism.
"I commend the members of the U.S. Congress for sending a clear message to those who preach and practice terrorism for political gains," he said, not mentioning either country by name.
Modi is on the U.S. leg of an international tour. On Tuesday, he met with President Barack Obama at the White House, where the two leaders said India agreed to work toward joining the Paris Agreement on climate change this year and discussed security and cyber security issues.
The visit, two years after Modi became prime minister, capped an improving relationship between New Delhi and the United States. Before he was elected, Modi was barred from even entering the country because of concerns about his handling of 2002 riots that killed at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims.